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Student Health Services

Flu vs. COVID-19 Q&A

Receiving your flu vaccination and getting #GarnetandVaxxed is the best way to prevent illness. Get your questions answered about how to recognize and combat both the flu virus and COVID-19, and access health resources for both through Student Health Services.

Will this flu season be worse than normal?

Our flu season last year was very light, likely due to the social distancing, enhanced hand hygiene, reduced travel and widespread masking requirements that were in place for COVID-19 mitigation.  Since many of these mitigations have been relaxed, we may see an increase in flu activity during the 2021-2022 flu season.  The CDC believes that COVID-19 and seasonal flu will be spreading at the same time, and it is possible for people with COVID-19 to be co-infected with either a bacterial pathogen or another viral infection like the flu. The best way to prevent both the flu and COVID-19 is through vaccination, and we are fortunate to have safe and effective vaccinations against each both of these illnesses.  

Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine or booster and the flu shot close together?

According the CDC, it is safe to get any of the COVID vaccines and the flu shot simultaneously. So far research has shown that the immune response and potential side effects are similar when the COVID-19 vaccine is given alone or alongside another vaccine.

How can I tell if I have the flu or COVID? What should I do?

The flu and COVID-19 can cause similar symptoms, including fever, aches, chill, fatigue, sore throat and headaches. It’s important if you begin to feel these symptoms to get tested as soon as you can, wear a mask and stay physically-distanced from others. The best way to prevent COVID-19 and the flu is to get vaccinated.

Where can I get a flu shot on campus?

All students, faculty and staff are eligible to receive their no-cost flu shot from Student Health Services’ on-campus clinic. This clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Center for Health and Well-Being, room 219. Drop-ins are welcome, appointments are encouraged

When is the best time to get my flu vaccine?

It’s recommended to come in for your flu shot before the end of October, so now is a great time for a flu shot! In addition to reducing your risk of flu illness, you will also be protecting people around you who are at risk for serious complications.

When will flu season begin, and when will it peak this year?

While the timing of the flu season can be difficult to predict, The CDC states that based on the low flu virus activity since March of 2020, we may see an early and possibly severe flu season this year.

Is anything different about the flu vaccine this year?

This year, all influenza vaccines will be quadrivalent, meaning they protect against 4 viruses (2 Influenza A and 2 Influenza B viruses).  In past years, some flu vaccines were trivalent (protected against 2 A viruses and one B virus).  Since most flu seasons have a second B lineage circulating, the quadrivalent vaccine should provide broader protection.  Quadrivalent flu vaccines have a similar safety profile to seasonal flu vaccines that were designed to protect against only 3 viruses.  

Can a flu vaccine give me the flu?

Flu vaccines cannot cause the flu because they do not contain live, infectious viruses.  Flu vaccines that delivered as shots are made by using 1) proteins from a virus, or 2) killed (inactivated) viruses.  Some short-term symptoms may occur as side-effects and may seem similar to flu symptoms, but are usually mild and very short-lived compared to an active flu infection.


For more information, please visit the CDC's Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions.

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