Doctor giving flu shot to a child

Flu shots and COVID-19 FAQ

What you need to know

Protect you and your loved ones by getting your annual flu shot.

The global pandemic has shifted the way healthcare providers care for their patients. In a time of stay-at-home protocols, it is still essential to get immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases, such as the flu.

Here are some of your questions answered:

How is getting the flu shot this year different from other years?

There has been a decrease in patients receiving vaccines in 2020. The CDC predicts that both Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the flu will spread this fall and winter. If this happens, healthcare systems could get overwhelmed by having to treat both flu and COVID-19 patients. This is why getting a flu shot in 2020-2021 is more important than ever.

Because of COVID-19, I’m quarantining. Why do I need the flu shot this year?

Staying at home is a good way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 since there is not yet a vaccine for this virus. However, you will likely come in contact with other people who may have not received their flu vaccine during a trip to the grocery store, stopping for gas, or getting food deliveries. This contact could increase the spread of the flu if people are not vaccinated. That’s why the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine every season with rare exception. Vaccination protects not only yourself, but also others.

How can I protect myself and loved ones from getting the flu?

Getting your annual flu shot is the number one form of protection. Safe and effective vaccines help prevent 2 to 3 million deaths a year. For additional preventive measures, view this flu resource from the CDC.

I don’t feel well. How can I spot the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?

Based on symptoms alone, it can be difficult to tell. Testing is needed for a diagnosis. This is because the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, including cough, fatigue, fever, chills, and sore throat. There are some differences, such as how long a person is contagious. Also, COVID-19 can take longer to show symptoms.

Will the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?

A flu vaccine will not protect against Coronavirus. However, receiving a vaccination has many other benefits. Visit the CDC Flu FAQ page for more information on the Flu and COVID-19.

Is the flu shot covered under my Capital Blue Cross health insurance plan?

The flu shot may be included in your Capital Blue Cross health plan as a covered preventive benefit. You can get a flu shot from your doctor.

If you have Rx coverage with Capital Blue Cross, you can get one at no cost from an in-network retail pharmacy. Show your member ID card at any in-network pharmacy, supermarket pharmacy, or health clinic to have your shot covered by your applicable coverage benefit.

You can check your flu shot coverage and eligibility status within your Capital Blue Cross secure member account by choosing "Flu Vaccination" in the Benefits for Service Type field. The chart will show you the different coverage details based on benefit-type, network type, and other factors.

Other ways to check if you are covered

Review your benefit plan documents or see your benefits at a glance.

If you still aren’t sure if you are covered or have questions

Call the Member Services number on the back of your member ID card. You can also email us.

Can I use my HSA, HRA, or FSA to pay for my flu shot?

Yes. Flu shots are a qualified medical expense. If cost share is applicable, this means any vaccination costs or copays are eligible for reimbursement.

Where can I get my flu vaccination?

Your doctor's office or primary care physician are not the only options. Many pharmacies, health clinics, health departments, provide vaccinations. Some providers and pharmacies allow you to schedule online allowing you to find a time that fits your schedule.

If you choose to go to a pharmacy, contact your pharmacy to confirm vaccine availability and administration before your visit.

Another way to find vaccinations available near you is through VaccineFinder.

How can I find an in-network flu shot provider?

Use MyCare Finder to search for in-network doctors and compare costs. Staying in-network can save money. Some costs may not be covered going out-of-network. Here is how to use MyCare Finder for your flu shot needs:

  1. Login to access MyCare Finder, click Doctors by specialty and type Flu Shot.
  2. A list of in-network provider results displays.
  3. Use the filter options to refine your results. This includes items such as distance, language, specialty, gender, and more.

Additional Information

The sources cited in this article have additional information regarding flu shot availability, flu season, COVID-19 implications, and more. Learn more on how Capital Blue Cross is here to help during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Members

For general questions related to the flu shot or immunizations, our 24/7 registered Nurse Line is a free service available for members to provide help.

Employers

If you have questions regarding flu shots this season, call your designated health contact.

Interested in health and wellness information? Visit the Capital Journal for more articles.


Sources: "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)", "BCBS ProgressHealth", and "Pennsylvania Department of Health"

The information provided is meant for a general audience. Capital Blue Cross and its affiliated companies believe this health education resource provides useful information but does not assume any liability associated with its use.