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Ask the Doctor: FAQs About the Flu Shot with Dr. Brian Earley

Ask the Doctor: FAQs About the Flu Shot with Dr. Brian Earley

We are now entering the peak of flu season. And with that being said, if you haven’t already, now is the perfect time for you to get your flu vaccination. The flu vaccine is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself from the influenza virus. Simply put, it’s your best defense against the flu and an investment in Better Health.

When it comes to your health, knowledge is power, and it’s always our goal to equip you with the necessary knowledge so you can make the best decision for yourself and your health. There’s a lot of misinformation and misconceptions about the flu shot floating around out there. So, to clear things up, we decided to Ask the Doctor.

Dr. Brian Earley from our VIPcare Leesburg primary care clinic has answered some frequently asked questions about the flu shot and its effects.


Q: Is the flu shot safe?

A: Yes. The flu vaccine has a good safety record and has been extensively researched by researchers, doctors, and health organizations. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years.

Q: Where can I get the flu shot?

A: Flu shots are widely available. You can schedule an appointment with your VIPcare provider or visit almost any large national pharmacy chain to receive your vaccination. It’s easy to find a VIPcare provider near you!

Q: When should I get the flu shot?

A: Flu season typically lasts from October to May. It’s recommended that you get the flu vaccination by the end of October; however, it’s rarely too late to get a flu shot. Flu activity peaks between December and February, so to ensure you are protected, it’s ideal to get the flu vaccine sooner rather than later. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection.

Q: Who should and shouldn’t receive the flu shot?

A: The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccination. Individuals with a severe allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine, who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), or who are not feeling well should speak with their doctor before getting a flu shot. 

Q: Why do I need to get vaccinated every year?

A: For two reasons. 1. Your immunity to the flu virus declines over time. By receiving an annual flu shot, you’re ensuring optimal protection. 2. Flu viruses evolve rapidly and are constantly changing. Because of this, the flu vaccine is reviewed every year and updated to protect against what research shows will be the most common viruses during the upcoming flu season.

frequently asked questions about the flu vaccine


Q: Is it safe to get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccination/booster at the same time?

A: The CDC recently updated their vaccination recommendations and has now determined that flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines, or booster shots, can be given simultaneously. It was previously reported that no vaccine should be received two weeks before or after receiving a COVID shot, but that recommendation has since been reevaluated and updated.

Q: Will the flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

A: No, getting the flu vaccination will not protect you against COVID-19, nor vice versa. The flu shot only helps reduce the risk of getting the flu and lessen the severity of symptoms.  

Q: What is the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

A: Both the flu and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses; however, they are caused by different viruses. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, whereas COVID-19 is contracted through exposure to a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Both are highly contagious and dangerous, with similar symptoms.


Q: Can I get the flu from the vaccine?

A: This is a widespread myth, and despite what many believe, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu illness. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus that’s unable to transmit infection. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection, so people who get sick following the shot were going to get sick anyway, and it’s not a result of getting the shot.  

Q: What are the side effects of the flu shot?

A: You may experience some mild side effects from the flu vaccine, including soreness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Side effects shouldn’t be a reason for alarm and should go away on their own. 

Contact VIPcare Today!

There are so many reasons why you should get the flu shot. The vaccine is quick, easy, and effective. It may not completely prevent you from getting the flu, but it will most definitely help to keep you out of the hospital and from having life-threatening complications.

If you have any questions or concerns about the flu vaccination, don’t hesitate to contact your VIPcare physician today. And if you reside in the Leesburg area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Earley by calling 352-350-8888. He has over 20 years of experience and brings a wealth of knowledge to VIPcare. He is currently accepting new Medicare Advantage patients.