Ready to protect your family?

Here’s the ‘single best way’ to protect against the flu

The flu comes around every year. But thanks to the flu vaccine, you have a way to help protect those you love — including little ones 6 months and older.

Yearly shots are the single best way to protect against the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More good news: An annual flu shot may be 100 percent covered by your health plan.* Here’s how the flu vaccine works to help protect you and your family:

1. A prediction goes viral.

Scientists around the globe study which flu viruses are spreading and making people sick. They use that information to predict which 3 or 4 viruses will be the most common or dangerous in the coming flu season.

2. A plan is hatched.

Private companies make the vaccines — and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tests them. Most of the viruses are grown in chicken eggs. Then the viruses are killed or weakened and made into vaccines. There are also vaccines that are egg-free and some that are made in other ways.

3. Packages of prevention hit the mail.

The vaccines are shipped to pharmacies, clinics and health departments throughout the country. It takes months for large quantities of vaccine to be produced, tested and delivered in time for the fall flu season.

4. You grab the kids — and step up for your shots.

Get flu shots for your crew as soon as you can. Everyone age 6 months and older — with few exceptions — should get a flu shot every year. Talk with your doctor if you have questions.

5. Immune systems shift into gear.

You can’t get the flu from the dead or weak viruses in the vaccine. But your body’s immune system still makes antibodies to fight them. It takes about 2 weeks post-shot for your antibodies to reach full strength.

6. Antibodies at the ready!

If the flu tries to infect you or someone in your family, your immune systems will send antibodies to stop it. Even if the virus you’re exposed to isn’t a perfect match for the vaccine, your antibodies may still help protect you from getting really sick.

7. Your family helps the herd.

Because you’re less likely to get the flu after your vaccine, the people around you — including older adults, kids and babies — are less likely to catch the flu from you. So your decision to be vaccinated helps your neighbors and community as well as your family.

8. Take care … just in case.

The flu vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective. So healthy habits still matter. It’s a good idea to stay away from people who are sick, wash your hands often and take good care of yourself.

Outsmart cold and flu germs! Check out these 7 smart strategies to help you stay well all season.Opens a new window

What to do next

Stay ahead of the flu. Get your flu shot from a network provider when it’s available. Here’s how to find a flu shot near you. Be sure to bring your health plan ID card with you. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to receive our e-newsletter? Subscribe to Healthy Mind Healthy Body® today.

  • If you are a new member, register on® to begin getting the newsletter.
  • If you've already registered on, log into your account and update your Subscriptions in the Account Settings section.

*Check your benefit plan to see what services may be covered.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Food and Drug Administration