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Fact or myth: flu vaccine

GEHA | October 7, 2022

Are the following statements about the Influenza vaccine fact or myth?

GEHA covers the flu shot at 100% when received at your in-network primary care physician, your child’s pediatrician or your local pharmacy. To locate a provider near you, visit GEHA's Find Care tool.

The flu vaccine is proven to be the most effective way to avoid the flu.

Fact! During the 2019-2020 flu season, the last flu season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flu vaccine was estimated to prevent 7.5 million cases of the flu. This number also predicts that the vaccination prevented an estimated 105,000 flu-related hospital visits and 6,300 flu-related deaths.

The flu vaccine only protects against one type of influenza virus.

Myth! Flu vaccines are, what are referred to as, quadrivalent, meaning, that the vaccination prevents against four separate strands of the influenza virus. Each year, flu vaccines are updated to protect against the four most commonly circulating strands of the virus.

There is only one type of flu vaccine available.

Myth! Not only are there two ways to receive the flu vaccine, via nasal spray or needle, but there are also multiple manufacturers and vaccines that are recommended for use in the United States. For those between the ages of 6 months and 65 years, there are no preferential vaccines over another according to the CDC. Click for a complete list of available influenza vaccination.

There are three preferential flu vaccines for those ages 65 or older.

Fact! New for the 2022 flu season, the CDC recommends one of three influenza vaccinations, for those over the age of 65. The recommended vaccinations include  Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccineFlublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine or Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. Click for more information about receiving the flu vaccine over the age of 65.

Flu immunity sets in immediately following the vaccination.

Myth! Immunity from the influenza virus sets in around the two-week mark of receiving the flu vaccine. The most highly recommended time to get vaccinated is the month of October, as flu season typically begins in October, but peaks in December through February. If you are going to travel, it is advised to get the flu vaccine two weeks prior to your departure date.

“Influenza Vaccine for the 2022-2023 Season.”, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 6 July 2022.
“Flu & People 65 Years and Older.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 August 2022.
“Flu Season.”,  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 September 2022.
“Seasonal Flu Vaccines.”, Center for Disease Control and Prevention 25 August 2022.


The information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.

Disclaimer: This is a brief description of the features of Government Employees Health Association, Inc.'s medical plans. Please read the GEHA Federal brochures which are available at All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochures.