Get vaccinated now for the coming flu season
By LORRAINE SIMPKINS
Don’t wait until you are sick to think about getting vaccinated against the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
According to the CDC, the timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Most seasonal flu activity in the United States typically occurs between October and May, commonly peaking between December and February.
While it may seem too early to worry about the flu, the CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against flu as soon as the vaccine becomes available, if possible by October. Because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu, getting vaccinated in October will hopefully protect you before the virus starts to spread.
PEF-represented employees and their covered dependents enrolled in The Empire Plan may receive the flu vaccine at no cost when administered by a participating provider under UnitedHealthcare’s Participating Provider Program or when administered by a licensed pharmacist at a pharmacy that participates in CVS/Caremark’s national vaccine network.
The national vaccine network includes the majority of pharmacies that participate in the Empire Plan Prescription Drug Program, but the two networks are different. To locate a CVS/Caremark vaccine network pharmacy online, go to The Empire Plan Prescription Drug Program website at www.cs.ny.gov/empireplanrxprogram. Select CVS/Caremark, Locate a Pharmacy, and then Pharmacy Locator. Enter your location information, select Advanced Search and then Vaccine Network.
If you have questions about vaccine coverage at a pharmacy or need help identifying a vaccine network pharmacy, call The Empire Plan at 877-7-NYSHIP (877-769-7447) and select 4 for the Prescription Drug Program.
More information about influenza vaccines is available at Preventing Seasonal Flu with Vaccination at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/index.htm.