Making your holiday to-do list? Check off one thing now: Get a flu shot

Portland, Ore.─ The flu vaccine can take up to two weeks to become effective, so no matter what you have planned for Thanksgiving this year, get your flu shot now.

“Getting a flu vaccine is an easy way people can protect themselves and their loved ones and help reduce the spread of flu this fall and winter,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Flu vaccines are safe and effective but will not protect against COVID-19. “We need to lessen the dual threat of flu and COVID-19 spreading at the same time,” Cieslak said. A “twindemic” of two potentially fatal viruses circulating at the same time could burden the state’s health care system and result in many illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

OHA recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot. Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, local health departments and many pharmacies. The vaccine is free or low cost with most health insurance plans. To find a flu vaccine clinic, visit www.flu.oregon.gov and use OHA’s flu vaccine locator tool.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the flu. Additional ways Oregonians can help prevent the spread of flu include:

  • Staying home from work or school when you are sick.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may have flu germs on them.
  • Avoiding getting coughed and sneezed on.

Don't wait to vaccinate the flu vaccine may take up to two weeks to become effective