This might be your most important flu shot ever

Facts about the flu and how to get a flu shot.

Getting the seasonal flu vaccine every year is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others. This year it will be more important than ever before to get your flu shot to help avoid an overlap of both flu and coronavirus this fall. Getting a flu shot will help keep you safe, and also reserve the health care resources we need to continue fighting COVID-19.


What is the flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect your nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and in extreme cases lead to death. “Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During flu season, flu viruses circulate at higher levels in the U.S. population.

What’s the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, but they’re caused by different viruses and have key differences. Seasonal flu vaccines are offered every year and are your best protection against the flu. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, contact your primary care physician to be evaluated. You can also take Sharp HealthCare’s free self-assessment tool at to help you determine the right next steps for you.

Why is getting a flu shot so important?

The flu and COVID-19 share similar symptoms, so there is a risk of inaccurate diagnosis. If a flu infection is mistaken for COVID-19, people may find themselves facing unnecessary, lengthy quarantine or not receiving appropriate flu treatment, such as antiviral medication. The flu and COVID-19 are also both highly contagious illnesses that affect the respiratory system. Being infected by both viruses is possible. This means that the risk of having more severe symptoms of both flu and COVID-19 and serious complications — such as acute respiratory distress syndrome — caused by co-infection could be higher. Also, the combination of both illnesses could potentially overwhelm the health care system and lead to further shutdowns.

When should I get my flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so it’s best to make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins.

Where can I get a flu shot?

Sharp Health Plan covers the flu shot under your preventive care benefits at no additional charge. Here's what you can do to get vaccinated today.

Your primary care physician

If you have a regularly scheduled appointment, it’s a good idea to ask if you can receive your flu shot during your appointment. Otherwise, you can contact your primary care physician (PCP) to schedule a vaccination appointment. You can find your doctor’s contact information on your member ID card.

  • TIP: Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, flu clinic procedures may be different this year. Some flu clinics may require appointments, and others may offer outdoor, drive-up vaccination locations that allow you to remain in your vehicle. Please visit your plan medical group’s website to learn more.


MinuteClinics are medical clinics located inside select CVS Pharmacy® stores nationwide. Before you head out, check to make sure you’re going to a CVS pharmacy store that offers a MinuteClinic. Flu shots at MinuteClinic have a $0 copay.

Find a MinuteClinic

$0 COVID-19 vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine and boosters are covered at $0 under your preventive care benefits.

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Sharp Direct Advantage is offered by Sharp Health Plan. Sharp Health Plan is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment with Sharp Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Read the full disclaimer.

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Page Last Updated: 6/22/2023
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