Get a flu
shot anytime.*

Get a flu
shot anytime.*

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How are CVS Pharmacy® and MinuteClinic® different?

At Pharmacy, vaccinations for adolescents* through seniors are administered by a certified immunizing pharmacist. Age and state restrictions apply at the pharmacy. Walk in or make an appointment.

At MinuteClinic, vaccinations for children as young as 18 months (5 years in CT) through seniors are administered by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.** No appointment necessary.

Flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children.

Flu (Influenza) vaccine for children available at MinuteClinic.
Patients 18 months and older in most states, 24 months and older in KY, 5 years and older in CT.

About the Flu

What is "the flu"?
"Flu" is short for influenza, a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. It can make you feel awful. Severe cases can even lead to death. Best way to protect yourself from getting the flu? Get an annual flu shot.

When is flu season?
The flu season occurs in the fall and winter, but the virus can stay active year-round.

Is the flu virus contagious?
Yes, it is very contagious. You can have the flu for 1 to 4 days before you start feeling sick. This means that you may be able to infect someone else before you even know you have the flu, not just while you are feeling symptoms.

What does it mean when you hear that "the virus has mutated"?
While the flu is going around, the virus can change and create a new flu strain. When this happens, the vaccine being given during that flu season may not provide enough protection against the new strain. This is one way that flu outbreaks can happen.

About Flu Shots

When should I get my flu shot?
The vaccine provides protection starting two weeks after you receive it. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated each flu season as soon as you can. CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic recommend vaccinating once the flu shot is available in store.

Who should get vaccinated?
The CDC recommends a seasonal influenza vaccination every year for everyone 6 months old and older. Age restrictions apply at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic.

Who should NOT get vaccinated or should wait?
Some people should talk with a doctor first before getting a flu shot. They include:

  • People who have a severe allergy to eggs or life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any of its ingredients
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination
  • People less than 6 months old
  • People who have developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine
  • People who have a moderate to severe illness or are feeling sick

*Additional restrictions may apply if you are receiving the nasal flu vaccine

What are the side effects of being vaccinated?
You might have some minor side effects after getting a flu shot, including but not limited to:

  • Soreness, redness or swelling of the skin where you got the shot
  • Low-grade fever
  • Body aches

If you feel any of these side effects, don't worry. You should feel better within 1 to 2 days. If not please report any side effects to your pharmacist or MinuteClinic provider.

I got my flu shot and I still got sick with the flu. Why?
Flu vaccine effectiveness can vary from year to year as there are many different factors that can contribute to how well the vaccine is at reducing the risk of illness.

Types of Flu Shots

What is the difference between available flu vaccines?

  • Three-strain (Trivalent) shots: made to protect against three different flu viruses
  • Four-strain (Quadrivalent) vaccine: protects against 4 different strains of flu virus
  • Quadrivalent and High Dose flu shots are available at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic:
    • High-dose vaccine: developed for people over 65 years old; contains the same 3 virus strains as the trivalent vaccine but four times more potent than the traditional flu shot
    • Intradermal vaccine: quadrivalent flu shot developed for people 18-64 years old; injected under the skin instead of in the muscle

Is one flu vaccine recommended over another?
The CDC doesn't recommend one vaccine over another. The important thing is to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Consult your local pharmacist or nurse practitioner to learn about your options and which vaccination may be appropriate for you.

From what strains of influenza does the quadrivalent vaccine offer protection?
The quadrivalent vaccine has the same strains as the trivalent vaccine plus 1 additional B strain of influenza. Some facts about influenza B strains:

  • The B strain has been directly linked to epidemics that have occurred every 2 to 4 years
  • Influenza B virus represented up to 44% of circulating strains between 2001-2002 and 2010-2011 (excluding the 2009-2010 pandemic)
  • On average, influenza-associated hospitalization and mortality rates are higher with type B influenza than with type A
  • The impact of circulating B strains is greater in children and young adults

Why is a high-dose flu shot available for people 65 and older?
As people get older, their natural immune defenses can weaken and they can get sick more easily. The high-dose flu shot contains four times more antigen (active ingredient) than a regular flu shot. This helps older people develop a better immune response, gives better protection against the flu and also helps prevent flu-related complications.

Is there a difference between the flu vaccine that I get at my doctor's office vs. CVS Pharmacy?
Manufacturers create over 156 million flu vaccine doses per season and distribute them across the U.S. Manufacturers send the same vaccine to pharmacies (including CVS Pharmacy) and other vaccine providers (including your doctor's office and MinuteClinic). However, all types of vaccinations might not be available at all CVS Pharmacy locations.

This information should be used for general education purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Neither CVS Pharmacy, Inc., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this information.

*Flu shots available when immunizing pharmacist or MinuteClinic health care provider is on duty, while supplies last. Age restrictions apply.

**Eligible patients will not pay any copayments unless otherwise required by their plan, including Medicare Part B. Vaccinations vary by state based on regulations.

This information should be used for general education purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Neither CVS Pharmacy, Inc., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this information.

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