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COVID-19, RSV and flu vaccines


COVID-19 vaccine

The following resources have up-to-date information on the virus, shots and tests:


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine

RSV is a common respiratory virus. It infects nearly all infants in the first year of life. For every 100 children younger than 6 months with RSV, 1 to 2 may need to be hospitalized. Read more about RSV in infants and young children.

Older adults with long-term heart and lung disease are at high risk for severe RSV disease. So are adults with weakened immune systems. Learn more in this fact sheet.

Please visit the CDC for the latest information on the RSV vaccine.


Flu shot

Everyone ages six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Other ways to help protect yourself and your loved ones include:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Covering your cough
  • Staying home if you are sick

For more information, visit: 



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  • Yes. There are no medical issues related to getting both a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

  • It’s usually OK to get a flu shot if you have a mild cold. If you have more serious symptoms, such as a high fever, wait until you feel better.

  • Yes. Antibiotics don’t make a flu shot less effective. 

  • Yes, it’s safe and recommended. When more people get vaccinated, it helps keep the flu from spreading throughout the community.

    If you’re pregnant or just gave birth: 

    • Your chances of serious illness and complications from the flu are higher. 
    • A flu shot helps protect you during and after pregnancy. 
    • It also helps protect your baby during pregnancy and for several months after birth.

    You can also get flu shots without preservatives. If you have questions about your situation, talk to your doctor.

  • If you're allergic to latex, you can still get a flu shot. All of our supplies — including bandages, gloves and our flu shots — are latex-free.

    If you have a history of egg allergies but can eat lightly cooked eggs or baked foods with eggs, you can get the flu shot. So can people whose only response is a red, itchy rash and who have tolerated a flu shot in the past.

    You may also be able to get a flu shot even if you have more serious reactions to eggs, including:

    • A life-threatening allergic response
    • Any allergic response that requires an EpiPen® 
    • Heart problems

    If you're 18 or older, we offer egg-free Flublok®. If you're 17 or under, please get your shot in the pediatric department or from an allergist. That way, our staff can keep an eye on you for 30 minutes after getting the shot. Reactions are rare but can happen.

  • The flu is a serious disease that can lead to time in the hospital and even death. Every flu season is different and affects people differently. 

    But everyone with the flu, even a mild case, spreads the virus. Also, healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. A yearly flu shot is the best way to lower the chances of getting and spreading the flu.  

  • No. The flu vaccine is made with an inactivated virus that can’t give you the flu. Normal side effects may include soreness, redness, mild fever, body aches or swelling where the shot was given.

    If these problems happen, they begin soon after getting the shot. They’re also mild and don’t last long. It takes about two weeks after the shot to get the antibodies that protect you from the flu virus.

  • Our doctors want to wait until new studies on the effectiveness of FluMist® have been published. Because of this, we’re not offering FluMist to children this flu season. 

  • Children ages 6 months to 8 years who have never had a flu shot before should get two shots. So should children whose flu shot history isn’t known. The second shot should be given four weeks after the first. After that, children only need one flu shot a year.  

  • The vaccine includes thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative. It’s been used in vaccines since the 1930s and scientists have found it to be very safe. It prevents vaccines from growing germs, which could make you very sick.

    Not all types of mercury are the same. For example, the mercury in thimerosal differs from the mercury found in certain fish. It also leaves the body quickly. Plus, many studies show no link between thimerosal and autism (a neurological disorder).

  • Yes, children with asthma should get a flu shot every year. It can help keep asthma from getting worse. It can also help your child avoid serious breathing problems related to the flu.

  • The high-dose vaccine is for adults ages 65 and older. People in this age group need the higher dose because their body's ability to protect itself gets worse over time.

    The high-dose flu shot (Fluzone®) offers better protection for older adults. It has four times more antigens, which help create a stronger immune response, than a regular flu shot. One study showed the high-dose shot to be up to 24% more effective than the regular dose.  Other studies show increased antibody response, which means extra help to fight the flu virus.

    There have been more reports of reactions with the high-dose vaccine. These include pain, redness where the shot is given, headache, muscle aches and generally not feeling well.

    Because of this, we don't suggest the high-dose vaccine if you’ve had serious reactions to the flu vaccine in the past. Also, The Polyclinic and the CDC don’t recommend one flu vaccine over another for older adults.

  • Flu vaccines are updated every year to keep up with changing viruses. Ingredients in this year’s vaccine include:

    • An A/Wisconsin/588/2019 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
    • An A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus
    • A B/Washington/02/2019-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
    • A B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)

Helpful resources


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Disclaimer: Optum Care Washington and The Polyclinic d/b/a Optum Care Washington (the “Practices”) are both physician owned and led practices having complete authority for all medical decision-making and patient care through their physicians and other licensed professionals. Optum, through its management organizations (“Optum”) provides non-clinical administrative services to support the Practices and their physicians. Neither Optum nor its management companies employs, engages, or supervises physicians or other licensed professionals, or determines or sets the methods, standards, or conduct of the practice of medicine or exercise of medical judgment or health care provided by the Practices or by any of their licensed professionals. “Part of Optum” reflects that the practices are part of Optum’s effort to support forward-thinking physician practices in helping their patients live healthier lives.