During the 2020-21 flu season, many schools were closed, and people were staying home to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This year, however, health officials are bracing for a more severe flu season. Most schools have reopened as have several businesses. People are also traveling and going out more. So this year more than ever, anyone who can get a flu shot needs to do so as soon as possible — especially as the COVID-19 pandemic is still under way. In addition, the immunity you get from a flu shot only lasts about a year, and the virus changes, which means new flu vaccines are created annually.
Both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines are the best ways of protecting people against diseases and illnesses — and both can reduce the risk of illness or hospitalization. Getting a vaccine helps your body to produce antibodies (proteins produced naturally by your immune system to fight disease), usually after about 2 weeks. Your body will then be able to recognize and fight the disease if you’re exposed to it later.
Both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines can significantly lower the impact of disease. However, the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, just as the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against the flu. Therefore, we encourage members to get each vaccine. (Current CDC guidance says that it’s safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine and a flu shot at the same time.) Experts also believe that, based on how each of these vaccines works in the body, none of the authorized vaccines are likely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. The same is true for flu shots, which help protect both the pregnant parent and the baby. Vaccination has, in fact, been shown to reduce the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant people by one-half. Learn more at kp.org/flu and kp.org/covidvaccine.
Kaiser Permanente is offering no-cost, walk-in flu shots for members at all of our medical facilities, no appointment needed. We’re also offering flu shots to every member during their scheduled care appointments and, for a limited time only (and for no extra cost), our members may also get a flu shot at multiple retail locations, including:
- Fred Meyer
- Rite Aid
Members who receive a flu shot from one of the designated retail locations do not have to pay for the shot or file a claim. They just have to show a photo ID and either a physical or digital Kaiser Permanente member ID card to access this service. (An ID card is required; knowledge of one’s ID number will not suffice on its own.) Members’ medical records will also be updated to show that they received a flu shot for this year. If members get a flu shot outside of their Kaiser Permanente provider network or at a business not listed here, they may need to pay out-of-pocket for the vaccine and file a claim with Kaiser Permanente to get reimbursed.