The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that are easily spread from person to person. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
Doctors recommend everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year.
Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications. Among those at high risk, for example, are children younger than 6 months of age or someone with a medical condition— like asthma—and their close contacts.
Learn more about who is at high risk from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and see “Additional Resources” further below for even more information.
Where can I get the free flu vaccine that is covered by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care?
- Harvard Pilgrim contracted physicians (PCP/Specialist); call your doctor’s office to make sure that they have the vaccine available.
- Participating MinuteClinic (MA, NH, ME, RI and CT locations only)
- Participating retail pharmacies for members 19 years and older. Bring your Harvard Pilgrim card and there will be no cost to you.
- MA city/town public clinic (clinics coordinated through MA Department of Public Health and billed to HPHC by Commonwealth Medicine)
- Public clinics run and billed by New England Nurses (MA, Southern NH, and parts of RI)
- Public clinics run and billed by Harvard Pilgrim contracted Home Health Agencies
- Your employer. Check with your Human Resources department to see if your company will be hosting a flu clinic this season.
Call ahead to make sure that they accept Harvard Pilgrim insurance and to ensure that the flu vaccine is available. Always bring your ID card with you.
- Your child’s pediatrician. Call the office to see if there are scheduled times for flu vaccines.
- Many cities and towns run flu clinics in the schools or public clinics for children and adults. Call your city or town for details.
Should I get the pneumonia vaccine?
The pneumonia vaccine is recommended for young children and all adults age 65 and older. Older children and adults younger than 65 who have certain medical conditions should also get the pneumonia vaccine. For information about the pneumonia vaccine, visit the CDC's Web site. Be sure to talk to your doctor about whether the pneumonia vaccine is right for you or your child.
- 3 Actions you can take to help fight the flu (CDC.gov)
- CDC.gov en Espanol
- Connecticut Department of Public Health
- Masssachusetts Department of Health & Human Services
- New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services
- Rhode Island Department of Health
- Member Services (888) 333-4742
- Medicare members (888) 609-0692