The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that as soon as the flu vaccine is available, you should get it.

“Based on the CDC recommendation, it should last through the whole flu season," said registered pharmacist Nikki Price, who talked to 9Health about the vaccine on the weekly Facebook Live show Health Happens.

9Health is once again proud to partner with Albertsons/Safeway to provide free flu shots at our 9Health Fairs this fall. You can find a fair near you by clicking here.

If the fair you visit isn’t offering the flu vaccine, you can still get a voucher to bring to any Albertson's or Safeway to get a free flu shot.

The flu shot protects against three or four influenza viruses that researchers believe to be the most prevalent that season. It usually takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in your body.

Getting a flu shot also protects those who are not able to get one, such as those who are too young or who have a medical condition preventing them from being able to receive the vaccine. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.

The CDC conducts studies each year to determine how effective the flu vaccine is. Effectiveness can vary but, according to the CDC, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine.

“No matter what the effectiveness was the year previous to that, it is always recommended to get the vaccine,” Price said. “It not only protects you but even if, by chance you were to get the flu, you are still less likely to be hospitalized, and have less severe symptoms." 

There are many misconceptions about the flu vaccine. The CDC said the flu shot cannot cause flu illness.

"It’s actually impossible to do because the flu shot is a dead virus, it’s not a live vaccine. So if you still get the flu you either were exposed to the flu prior to getting the flu shot or it takes two full weeks for full immunity to take place after getting your flu shot,” Price said.

Believe it or not, some people can die from the flu. By vaccinating yourself, you’re protecting you and others – maybe even your loved ones.

Everyone over six months of age should be vaccinated. Those most at risk for the flu virus include:

  • Children under the age of 5
  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain medical conditions

Together, 9Health Fair and Safeway/Albertson’s is making it easy and affordable for you and your loved ones to get a flu shot. To get a free flu shot at the 9Health Fair this fall, check out their Find a Fair page to find a location near you.

Click here to watch the full Health Happens episode.

9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey. To support their work, go to www.9healthfair.org/sponsors/support/.