About the Flu Vaccine

Q1: Is the flu vaccine really necessary

Aside from Covid 19, influenza is the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine-preventable disease in the United States. The estimated number of annual influenza-associated deaths from respiratory and circulatory causes averages 23,607 per year. In addition to fatalities, seasonal influenza is also responsible for more than 200,000 hospitalizations per year. Rates of infection from seasonal influenza are highest among children, but the risks for complications, hospitalizations, and deaths are higher among adults 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years and people of any age who have medical conditions that place them at increased risk for complications from influenza. The H1N1 virus, an influenza A strain (first detected in March of 2009) also causes a significant number of hospitalizations and deaths among children, adults 19-65 years, obese persons, and pregnant and post-partum women.

Q2: Which flu vaccine do you use

We offer the quadrivalent influenza vaccine via an injection. It will protect against four of the anticipated influenza strains that will circulate in our community during the 2023-24 influenza season.

Q3: Do you offer the nasal FluMist

FluMist, a nasal influenza vaccine will not be offered for the 2023-24 influenza season. A history of limited demand, logistical challenges, and cost were considerations.

FluMist is approved by the FDA for most kids 2 and older as a one or two dose series based on age and previous influenza vaccination history. It is administered by instilling a small amount of a liquid into each nostril. It is generally well tolerated. Children with a history of asthma, wheezing, or other chronic health problems may not be candidates.

The following is a more detailed discussion of the intranasal influenza vaccine: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/nasalspray.htm.

FluMist is available at several of our community’s retail healthcare outlets and pharmacies.

Q4: How much does a flu vaccine cost

Influenza vaccines are typically covered by most insurance plans under preventative care. Like other office visits and procedures, we will bill your insurance carrier as a courtesy to you. Please contact your insurance carrier if you have specific questions regarding your coverage for this service. If you do not have coverage, we offer a cash price paid at the time of service. Call for more details.

Q5: Do you have adult influenza vaccines available

Although ideal, logistical obstacles do not allow us to offer influenza vaccines to anyone other than our staff and our pediatric patients. We recommend that you check with your primary care provider, a convenient care, retail healthcare outlets such as Walgreens or Target or your local pharmacy.

Q6: If I had to call my insurance company, what codes are used for the influenza vaccine

  • 90685, Influenza Vaccine Quadrivalent, 6-35 months
  • 90686, Influenza Vaccine Quadrivalent, 3 Plus Years

Q7: Which children should receive the influenza vaccine

Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all children age 6 months and older who do not have a contraindication to the vaccine.

Q8: When should the flu vaccine be given

As soon in the season as it becomes available. Early vaccination of children 8 years and younger who need 2 doses of vaccine can be helpful in assuring routine second doses before the influenza season begins.

Q9: Can you “get the flu” after receiving the injectable flu vaccine

Highly unlikely. There are several reasons why this misconception persists:

  1. Less than 1% of people who are vaccinated with the injectable vaccine develop flu-like symptoms, such as mild fever and muscle aches, after vaccination. These side effects are not the same as having influenza, but people confuse the symptoms.
  2. Protective immunity doesn’t develop until 1–2 weeks after vaccination. Some people who get vaccinated later in the season (December or later) may get influenza shortly afterward. These individuals may develop influenza simply because they were exposed to someone with the virus before they became immune. It is not the result of the vaccination.
  3. To many people “the flu” is any illness with fever and cold symptoms. If they get any viral illness, they may blame it on the flu shot or think they got “the flu” despite being vaccinated. Influenza vaccine only protects against certain influenza viruses, not all viruses.
  4. The influenza vaccine is not 100% effective, especially in older persons.

Q10: How many doses of the influenza vaccine are recommended

Children aged 6 months through 8 years of age who have previously received ≥2 total doses of the influenza vaccine before July 1, 2023, require only 1 dose for the 2023-24 season. The two previous doses do not need to have been given during the same or consecutive seasons. Children in this age group who have not previously received a total of ≥2 doses of influenza vaccine before July 1, 2023 require 2 doses for 2023-24 season. The interval between the 2 doses should be at least 4 weeks apart. Children 9 and older require only 1 dose regardless of past influenza vaccine history.

Q11: What should I do if my child receives his/her influenza vaccine(s) elsewhere

Our primary goal is the health and well-being of your child. If your child receives this vaccine (or any other vaccines) elsewhere, please provide documentation so we can record it in your child’s immunization history.