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It’s worth a shot: Get your flu vaccine
vaccine being given

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others — but only about half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine, despite the many benefits. Get answers to common questions and learn the current policies for Emory University and Emory Healthcare employees.

What is the flu?

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that can cause mild to severe illness. At times the flu can lead to hospitalization or even death. 

People who have flu often feel some or all the following symptoms (which can appear suddenly): 

  • fever or feeling feverish/experiencing chills
  • cough and sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle and body aches
  • headache and fatigue 
  • diarrhea and vomiting

Who should get a flu shot — and why?

The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccine as the first and most important action to protect against the flu and its potentially serious complications. 

Flu viruses are constantly changing, which is why you need a shot each year. Vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against whichever viruses research suggests will be common during the upcoming flu season. 

Recent studies conducted by the CDC show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by 40–60% among the overall population. While some people who get vaccinated still get sick, several CDC studies have shown that the vaccine reduces the severity of illness and decreases a person’s chances of hospitalization. 

Flu vaccination also is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. For example, the CDC says flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events in people with heart disease. 

How can Emory employees get a flu shot?

The flu vaccine is covered by Emory medical insurance. Employees on an Emory medical plan have two options to get flu shots.

Option 1 (recommended): The best way to get a flu shot is through your local pharmacy.

  • If you are on an Aetna medical plan, visit any in-network retail pharmacy such as CVS, Walgreens, Target, Publix or Kroger. You will need to present your Emory CVS/Caremark prescription drug card to get a free flu shot.
  • If you are on the Kaiser medical plan, attend one of the Kaiser Walk-In Flu Clinics offered Monday­–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. at their medical office locations. No appointment is necessary.

Option 2: Get a flu shot as part of your preventive exam at your doctor’s office. Flu shots are free of charge for Aetna or Kaiser medical plans; however, you must use Tier 1 or Tier 2 doctors under the Aetna plans in order for the vaccine to be free. Note: if you've already had your annual preventive exam and make a separate appointment for a flu shot, you may be charged for the visit.

Visit to find a flu vaccination location near you.

How can you prevent getting the flu?

Besides vaccination, the CDC suggests taking the following preventative actions every day to help reduce the spread of influenza germs:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. 
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu. 
  • If you are sick, limit your contact with others as much as possible to reduce the chances of infecting them. 

Visit the CDC website for more information and facts about the flu vaccine. Emory University employees also can visit the Healthy Emory Flu Vaccination page or email Healthy Emory. Emory Healthcare employees can visit the Influenza Vaccination Campaign page. 

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