Get Your Vaccination
Flu vaccinations are available at all Group Health Medical Centers clinics. Ask for the vaccine during your next appointment, or when you're already in a clinic for any other service. Vaccinations are also available on a walk-in basis between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Check signs at the clinics for vaccine locations.
CDC Health Advisory: This Could Be a Severe Flu Season
Early data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the current flu season could be severe and urges everyone to get vaccinated. This year's predominant influenza A strain H3N2 has a history of causing more severe illness, and the virus has "drifted." This means the vaccine is expected to be less effective; however, if infected, vaccinated people may have a milder illness. During past seasons when influenza A viruses have predominated, higher overall and age-specific hospitalization rates and more mortality have been observed, especially among older people, very young children, and persons with certain chronic medical conditions.
Group Health follows CDC recommendations:
- Anyone who has not received the flu vaccine this season should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
- Depending on the formulation, flu vaccines protect against three or four different flu viruses. Even during a season when the vaccine is only partially protective against one flu virus, it can protect against the others and reduce the risk of hospitalization or even death.
- Hand-washing, covering a cough or sneeze, and avoiding people who are sick are especially important during this flu season.
- People who do become sick should stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Use of antiviral medications when indicated as an adjunct to vaccination.
Who Should Get a Flu Shot?
The CDC recommends immunization for everyone 6 months and older. Flu vaccination is especially important for high-risk individuals, including children, pregnant women, adults over the age of 50, and those with chronic conditions. Caregivers for high-risk individuals should be vaccinated.
Once you receive your vaccine, it takes about two weeks for it to begin protecting you. The vaccine will give you protection against the flu until it's time for a vaccination next fall.
Vaccine Supply and Availability
Group Health has plenty of vaccine available.
The nasal vaccine, FluMist, is available for healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 49 who are not pregnant.
No Charge for Members; Fee for Public
Most plans include coverage for seasonal flu vaccinations. For some plans, deductibles and coinsurance may apply. Remember that if you don't get your vaccine at a Group Health clinic, you may need to pay and submit a claim for reimbursement. Check your benefits, or call Customer Service, toll-free, at 1-888-901-4636.
Flu vaccine is covered as an in-network preventive service for all Group Health members.
The price for fee-for-service patients or non-Group Health members aged 19 and older is $48, and $23.44 for children 6 months to 18 years old.
Finding Other Locations
If you don't have a Group Health clinic in your area, ask your doctor where to get your flu vaccine. Pharmacies that contract with Group Health may offer flu vaccinations at no charge to Group Health members; ask at the pharmacy if you will need to pay. If you do, submit a claim for reimbursement (PDF) to Group Health.
You can get your vaccine at retail stores, pharmacies, or various community locations offering flu vaccinations. If you go to a non-Group Health facility, you will need to pay for the vaccination and submit the above claim for reimbursement form to Group Health.
If you live in the Puget Sound area, you can get the flu vaccine at walk-in CareClinics inside three Bartell Drug locations in Ballard, Crossroads, and University Village. The CareClinics are staffed with Group Health nurse practitioners.
For more information, see Seasonal Flu Q&A.
The Consulting Nurse Service is available around the clock to Group Health members who have medical questions or concerns.