The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year. 

Why is it important to get a flu vaccine?

Doctors recommend everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year. The flu can cause some serious complications that sometimes require hospitalization. Getting a flu vaccine can reduce serious disease, complications, hospitalizations and reduce the number of days that you are sick. It’s especially important that people at high risk for developing flu complications get vaccinated. This includes people 65 years and older, those of any age with certain chronic conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), pregnant women and children younger than five years of age.

Learn more about flu, vaccines and keeping healthy this season from the, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention(CDC). See Additional Resources below.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Flu shots are available at no additional cost to Harvard Pilgrim members at a number of convenient locations. Not all facilities provide flu shots to children, so be sure to check ahead to confirm.

  • Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or family pediatrician
  • Participating MinuteClinics (MA, NH, ME, RI and CT locations only)
  • Participating retail pharmacies in Harvard Pilgrim’s pharmacy network (for example, CVS, Walgreens) for members ages 3+*.
  • Public and community-based clinics — contact your town or state’s health department (see Additional Resources)

And before you go, be sure to:

  • Bring your Harvard Pilgrim ID card with you to ensure you get the coverage provided by your plan
  • Call the provider/facility in advance to confirm the flu vaccine is available
  • Check if there are COVID-19 precautions in place. 

What should I do if I get sick with the flu?

Most people with the flu have mild illness. If you have symptoms of the flu and are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider. If your health care provider is not available, learn more about your care options.

Early flu treatment (within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms) with antivirals for severe cases has been shown to reduce the length and severity of illness. If you have shortness of breath, fever and cough, call your health care provider.

How can I understand whether my symptoms are related to the flu or COVID-19?

Visit the CDC web site to determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are from the flu or COVID-19. If you have been exposed to or are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 (especially difficulty breathing), call your health care provider.

Good habits to help prevent the spread of the flu

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze
  • Alcohol-based hand cleansers that contains at least 60 percent alcohol (also referred to as ethanol or ethyl alcohol) are also effective and easy to take with you
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home until your fever is gone for at least 24 hours  

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention  

State Departments of Health  

Harvard Pilgrim’s COVID-19: Your Guide to Care information 

*Pediatric administration where allowed by state regulations and/or pharmacy practices