Woman receiving a vaccination

Get your flu shot at your doctor's office or the pharmacy.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Flu Shot

Why should I get a flu shot?

The flu can be a serious condition that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Even healthy people can get the flu and spread it to others. And because the flu strain is different each year, you need to have that flu season's vaccine.

The flu vaccine has also been shown to reduce the number of hospitalizations from flu-related complications in people with chronic conditions, like diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD).

For people with heart disease, the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related cardiac events that may result in damage to the heart.

Finally, when you get the flu shot, you’re not only protecting yourself from the flu, you’re preventing the flu from being passed onto others, especially those who are at higher risk for the flu, like young children and seniors.

When should I get my flu shot?

The flu season typically starts as early as September and can last as late as March.

Flu shots begin being offered in late summer. Because it can take several weeks for the vaccine to begin working, we recommend getting the shot as early as possible.

I’ve heard the flu shot isn’t always effective. Should I still get one?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu shot is estimated to be 40 percent to 60 percent effective every year.

While it’s true that getting the vaccine isn’t a guarantee you won’t get sick, it can still protect you. And even if you get the flu, it can make the symptoms less severe and help you avoid serious complications.

Health officials strongly recommend getting the flu shot every year. We hope you’ll take advantage of your SCAN coverage and get your shot this flu season.

How much does the flu shot cost?

There’s no cost to you at either your doctor’s office or pharmacy. Remember, though, that you might be charged a copayment if you get your flu shot at your doctor’s office while you’re seeing him or her for something else.

Is the flu shot available at all pharmacies?

The flu shot is available at most pharmacies within the SCAN network, but it’s a good idea to give your pharmacy a call just in case to see if they’re offering the shot and when you can come in to get it.

Some pharmacies may have an on-site clinic that offers flu vaccines. Be sure to get your vaccine from the pharmacist at the pharmacy counter and show them your SCAN member ID card. No prescription needed.

How do I know which pharmacies are offering the flu shot?

Most pharmacies in the SCAN network are offering the flu shot, including:  

  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Ralphs Pharmacy
  • Rite Aid
  • Safeway Pharmacy
  • Sav-On Pharmacy
  • Vons Pharmacy
  • Walgreen's
  • Walmart
  • Select independent pharmacies

If you’d like to know for sure if a particular pharmacy is giving flu shots, give them a call or call SCAN Member Services at 1-800-559-3500 (TTY Users: 711).

Do I have to get my flu shot at the pharmacy?

No, you can get your shot at your doctor’s office. The pharmacy is just another option for you.

Does the flu shot have side effects?

You may experience mild side effects, like soreness in the arm where you had the shot or a mild headache. These side effects usually go away in a day or two.

Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?

No, flu vaccines cannot give you the flu. While low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches may occur, these are side effects of the shot and not symptoms of the flu. 

Are there some people who should not receive the flu vaccine?

People with life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients should not get the flu shot. Likewise, anyone with a severe egg allergy or who’s ever been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome should talk to their doctor before getting the shot.

Where can I learn more about the flu?

The CDC’s flu website has a lot of useful information about flu prevention, symptoms and diagnosis, treatment and more.  

To learn more about the myths and facts about the flu shot, visit the CDC’s Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines website.

Watch the video and learn more!