$0 Flu Shots for Patients with Medicare
- People over 50 years of age are encouraged to get flu shots to decrease chances of medical complications from influenza
- All patients with Medicare Part B are covered for one free flu shot per flu season
- Patients enrolled in Original Medicare pay neither a co-pay nor Part B deductible
About the Flu (Influenza)
The flu is a seasonal, contagious respiratory illness normally transmitted from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Most people are contagious the day before symptoms develop and up to one week after becoming ill. Fortunately, the flu can typically be avoided altogether by getting a flu vaccine each year. Though flu season typically peaks in January, the CDC recommends vaccination as early as September.
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
According to the CDC, everyone 6 months and older should receive an annual flu vaccination.
The vaccine is particularly important for people who are at a higher risk of developing flu-related complications, including:
- Children under 6 years of age
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women
- People with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease
- For a full list of high-risk conditions, consult the CDC's flu web page.
Important Facts about the Flu Vaccine
- The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in an individual roughly two weeks after the vaccine is administered.
- Flu strains vary each year. This year’s flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Because the flu vaccine is updated annually, it is recommended that you get vaccinated each year.
- The flu shot is administered in the arm. It is typically a quick and easy procedure. The vaccination is not a live virus, and thus has shown to have fewer side effects than other types of vaccinations.
- The flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent seasonal influenza for you, your family and the community at large.
Common Signs and Symptoms of the Flu
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
If you think you may have the flu, consult a physician for proper diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control www.cdc.gov/flu.