Seasonal Influenza (Flu) & COVID-19 Vaccines

Don’t let the flu stop you this winter. Get your flu shot.

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Doctors recommend that everyone ages 6 months and older get their annual flu shot. Flu vaccines are available at little to no cost at providers across the state.

People should get their flu vaccine early to build up immunity before the virus becomes widespread in late fall and winter.

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About the Flu

The flu is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Those at high risk for serious flu complications include older people, young children, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions or compromised immune systems. Some of those same groups are also at high risk of complications from COVID-19. 

During October through May, NCDHHS’ Division of Public Health provides weekly updates on the spread of respiratory diseases, including influenza and COVID-19, in North Carolina. 

Stay protected this fall and winter.

The first and most important step in protecting you and your family from the flu is to get vaccinated. You can safely get your flu shot at the same time you get your updated COVID-19 booster!

Seasonal flu vaccines are safe and effective. During the 2019-2020 flu season, flu vaccines prevented an estimated 7.5 million flu illnesses, 3.69 million medical visits, 105,000 hospitalizations, and 63,000 flu deaths across the United States. 

Contact your health care provider or visit vaccinefinder.org to find a convenient location to get a flu vaccine near you.

Prevent Seasonal Flu   Frequently Asked Questions
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Symptoms

Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu symptoms are similar to COVID-19 and can include:  

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills  
  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  
  • Fatigue (tiredness)  
  • Sore throat  
  • Runny or stuffy nose  
  • Muscle pain or body aches  
  • Headache  
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults  

Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, including common signs and symptoms listed above. COVID-19 seems to cause more serious illnesses in some people. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell. 

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. 

Learn more about the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

North Carolina Immunization Branch