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Because the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, when a person gets the flu and develops fever and cough, it will be impossible to tell before testing: is this flu or is this COVID-19? Every fall we recommend that all New Yorkers get the flu shot, but this fall it is even more essential as it will prevent you from needing to seek care in a busy urgent care or emergency room, where you may be exposed to COVID and other infectious illness.

You should get your flu shot in your primary care office. If you don’t have a primary care team, it’s a good time to establish that relationship. Choose a practice that:

1: Observes strict social distancing guidelines

2: Sees patients by appointment only (not walk-ins) so you can trust your risk of COVID exposure at your appointment will be low

3: Offers care via telemedicine, so that if you become ill this fall with flu-like symptoms, you can consult with a physician via telemedicine

When people are battling another illness (either infection or chronic condition) they are more likely to develop severe illness from COVID infection. However, getting the flu shot will reduce your risk of getting the flu significantly. Observing social distancing, handwashing, and wearing a mask outside the home will further reduce your risk of flu and will also reduce your risk of COVID infection

The flu shot usually does not hurt and does not cause ANY symptoms. Those who experience symptoms feel soreness at the site of the shot, or mild fatigue for a day. The flu shot is a killed vaccine and CAN NOT give you the flu.