Frequently asked questions about flu

As we approach flu season, Fallon Health is doing all we can to help our members with prevention of the flu. Below are some frequently asked questions about the flu and flu vaccine, now available.

If you are concerned that you or a family member may have the flu, or have been exposed to the flu, call your health care provider.

On this page:
Why is it important to get a flu vaccine this year?
Will Fallon cover the flu vaccine for its members?
Where can I get a flu shot? 
When should I get a flu shot?
Who should get a flu shot?
Will I have to pay for my flu shot upfront?
If I have to pay for my vaccine upfront, how do I get reimbursed?
Do I have to show my Fallon card at a flu clinic?
Can I get the flu from a flu shot?
Does the flu shot increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
What can I do on my own to prevent getting the flu?
Where can I get more information about the flu?

Question:
Why is it important to get a flu vaccine this year?

Answer:
It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.

While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits, such as:

  1. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
  2. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19. Learn more about COVID-19 >

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Question:
Will Fallon cover the flu vaccine for its members?

Answer:
Yes. Fallon will cover in full the cost of a health care professional administering the seasonal flu vaccine. (Please note: The flu shot is considered preventive care and is therefore not subject to the deductible. You may be responsible for a copayment.)

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Question:
Where can I get a flu shot?

Answer:
You can get a seasonal flu vaccine from a variety of resources:

  • Your primary care provider (PCP), or from another plan provider such as an obstetrician if you are pregnant
  • Through a clinic sponsored by your employer or school
  • At a public or private clinic, such as a senior center, where the vaccine will be administered by a community vaccinator or mass immunizer
  • At a public clinic sponsored by your city or town
  • At a retail store or pharmacy, such as CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens (It’s a good idea to confirm that the pharmacy has the vaccine in stock before you go.)

If you get your vaccine at a clinic or pharmacy, be sure to tell your primary care provider so that he or she can update your medical record. Find a flu vaccine near you >

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Question:
Who should get a flu shot?

Answer:
Flu shots are recommended for all people 6 months and older, with rare exception.

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Question:
When should I get a flu shot?

Answer:
You should get the shot early in the fall before flu season begins spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. The CDC recommends that people get the shot by the end of October. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

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Question:
Will I have to pay for my flu shot upfront?

Answer:
You may not have to pay up front if you get your shot from your PCP or another network provider, depending on any other reason for your visit. You won't pay out-of-pocket if you get your shot at certain retail stores or pharmacies such as CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens. Just be sure to show your health plan member ID card. Check with your employer to see if it issues separate pharmacy cards. See a list of network pharmacies where you can get the flu shot.

For worksite flu vaccination clinics, please check with your HR Department on how payment will be handled.

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Question:
If I have to pay for my vaccine up front, how do I get reimbursed?

Answer:
If you had to pay up front for a flu shot, mail the following to Fallon Health, Attention: Claims, 10 Chestnut St., Worcester, MA 01608:

  • Receipt from wherever you received your shot
  • Proof of payment (cancelled check, credit card receipt or cash register receipt)
  • Your name, address and member ID

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Question:
Do I have to show my Fallon card?

Answer:
Yes, you will need to show your Fallon ID card.

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Question:
Can I get the flu from a flu vaccine?

Answer:
No. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Flu shots (given by a needle) contain either viruses that have been "inactivated" or no viruses at all. Flu vaccines that are nasal sprays do contain live viruses, but the viruses are weakened, and therefore cannot cause the flu.

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Question:
Does the flu shot increase your risk of getting COVID-19?

Answer:
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases the risk of getting COVID-19. There are many benefits from flu vaccination and preventing flu is always important, but in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to do everything possible to reduce illnesses and preserve scarce health care resources.
Learn more about COVID-19 >

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Question:
Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

Answer:
No. Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19.
Learn more about COVID-19 >

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Question:
What can I do on my own to prevent getting the flu?

Answer:
Here are some tips to prevent the flu:

  • Get a flu vaccine each year.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (if you do not have a tissue). Throw used tissues in a trash can.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you think you are ill with the flu, avoid close contact with others as much as possible, which includes staying home from work.
  • Avoid shaking hands.

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Question:
Where can I get more information about the flu?

Answer:
For more information about the flu, visit any of the following websites for expert information:

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