Vaccinations: a shot worth taking

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Getting a shot is never fun, but preventing illness is worth it—especially this year. Keeping up with your vaccines, either in anticipation of the upcoming flu season or for the prevention of shingles, is a key step in preventing illness. 

We recommend going to your local pharmacy first to see if a pharmacist can administer the vaccine you need. It’s often faster and easier than making an appointment with your doctor, plus it may be covered with a prescription drug plan. The next time you pick up your prescription, ask your pharmacist if vaccines are being offered.

Humana Pharmacy® has retail locations in select areas that offer flu shots and other vaccines. You can find the nearest location here.

Please refer to the member’s Evidence of Coverage or Benefit Plan Document (Certificate of Insurance or Summary Plan Description), or call member services at the number on the back of your Humana member ID card to see if your flu shot is covered.

The flu shot: A good idea every year

Flu season begins in October and typically peaks between December and February. Some years it lasts as late as May.1 It’s recommended to get a flu shot every year for 2 reasons: Your body’s immune response from the vaccination naturally declines over time, and flu viruses change constantly.2 You should try to get your shot early, before flu season begins, because it takes about 2 weeks to become effective.3 You can still get the shot after flu season has begun, but you’re at risk of catching the flu until the vaccine becomes effective.

Vaccinations in children

According to UNICEF, it’s important to get children vaccinated beginning at birth. Because their immune systems are still developing, children are at increased risk for serious diseases such as whooping cough.4 Vaccinating children not only protects them but also the people around them, as it makes it harder for diseases to spread.5 Your pediatrician can recommend which shots your children should get at certain ages, and you can track them with this handy milestone tracker created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vaccinations in adults 19 and above

Becoming an adult doesn’t mean that you’re done getting shots. It’s recommended that adults get a booster shot for tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years in order to stay protected.6 Other vaccines, such as the shingles vaccine, are given during an age range when the patient has a higher risk of contracting the illness.7 Consider talking to your doctor or local pharmacist about additional vaccinations you may need, such as HPV, chickenpox, hepatitis A and B and pneumococcal.8

You’ll also need vaccinations if you’re planning on traveling abroad. Some illnesses, such as malaria and typhoid, are more prevalent in certain parts of the world and not typically vaccinated during routine health exams. The CDC Travelers’ Health website can help you find out if there are vaccines you should consider getting before a trip.

Humana Pharmacy’s retail locations offer many of the vaccines you may need as an adult. You can find the nearest location here.


Sources:

  1. “The Flu Season,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed September 4, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm.
  2. “Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed September 3 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm.
  3. “Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine.”
  4. “Vaccines: Your Questions Answered,” UNICEF, last accessed September 3, 2020, https://www.unicef.org/immunization/parents-frequently-asked-questions-vaccines.
  5. “Vaccines for Infants, Children, and Teens,” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, last accessed September 3, 2020, https://www.vaccines.gov/who_and_when/infants_to_teens/index.html.
  6. "Tetanus: Protect Your Family with Vaccines,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed September 3, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/vaccination.html#:~:text=Make%20sure%20you%20and%20your,%2C%20and%20pertussis%20(whooping%20cough).
  7. “What Everyone Should Know about Zostavax,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed September 3, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/zostavax/index.html.
  8. “Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for ages 19 years or older, United States, 2020,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed September 3, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.

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