Get the Shot, Not the Flu!

Every year when the flu season comes around, some adults do not take action to protect themselves and their families.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2017, only 4 out of 10 upstate NY adults reported that they received a flu vaccine in the past year.

According to a 2019 community survey commissioned by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, nearly 6 out of 10 adults (58%) believe it is important to get an annual flu vaccine.

  • The most common reasons that people do not get a flu vaccine:
    • Concern about the vaccine side effects.
    • They have never gotten sick from the flu in the past.
    • Believe that flu vaccines do not work very well for the current strain.

The seasonal influenza virus can cause mild to severe illness, hospitalization, and even death. Nationally, each year, the flu results in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations…and tens of thousands of deaths. While anyone can catch the flu, some people are at high risk for flu-related complications. Those people are the very young, the very old, women who are pregnant and people who have certain health conditions (e.g., asthma, heart disease, blood disorders, endocrine disorders).

These are steps that you and your family can take to prevent catching the flu:

  • The best protection against the flu, for you and for others, is yearly vaccination.
  • The CDC recommends everyone six months and older should get the flu vaccine annually (with few exceptions).
  • Good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

 The Flu can spread without any direct contact with another person and before someone even feels sick. Statistically, every 100 people with the flu will infect 127 other people. One person who has the influenza virus can infect other people one day before any symptoms will come apparent and up to seven days after they are sick. The virus can spread to others up to about 6 feet away, mainly by microscopic droplets expelled into the air when people cough, sneeze, or even talk.

 It takes all of us to help keep our community healthy this flu season, this is how and when to get vaccinated:

  • You can get a flu vaccine at doctor’s offices, pharmacies, clinics, college health centers and places of employment. To find a location near you, visit
  • Make a plan to get your flu vaccine. Pick a date and time. Write it on your calendar or put a reminder on your phone.
  • Get vaccinated now to protect yourself and others. The flu vaccine will protect you throughout the entire flu season.
  • The CDC encourages vaccination by the end of October. Children ages 6 months through 8 years who require two doses of the flu vaccine should receive their first dose as soon as possible to allow the second dose (which must be administered four weeks or more later) to be received by the end of October.