It's that time of year again -- flu season. And with it comes the potential to contract the flu. Well, we have good news!
Flu shots are now available for all enrolled Veterans!
Ask for a flu shot at your Primary Care-, Specialty Clinics- and community based outpatient clinic-scheduled appointments.
Drive-through clinics will be held in September and October. Just call the facility or CBOC for dates/times. Beginning the Sept.1, 2021, enrolled Veterans can also receive a flu shot through the Community Care Network (CCN). CCN in-retail pharmacies or urgent care/walk-in care (standalone visit) will provide no cost, no copayment flu vaccination to Veterans enrolled in the Western North Carolina VA Health Care System. Bring your VA ID. For locations, please call 877-881-7618.
Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your community. Plan to get your flu shot. It is especially important this year to receive your flu shot as this flu season overlaps with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Friday, Aug. 27, all enrolled Veterans at the Western North Carolina VA Health Care System will have the opportunity to receive a free flu shot.
There are three opportunities to receive your flu shot:
Option 1: Scheduled appointments. If you already have a scheduled appointment, you may receive your flu shot at that time. Includes Primary Care, Specialty Care Clinics and the Franklin, Hickory and Rutherford County Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs).
Option 2: Flu Shot “Drive Thru” Clinic. Flu shots will be available curbside during designated times (see table below) at the Charles George VA Medical Center and Franklin, Hickory and Rutherfordton CBOCs.
Option 3: Community Care Network: Starting September 1st, 2021, enrolled Veterans (active within the past 24 months) can receive a flu shot through the Community Care Network (CCN). CCN in-retail pharmacies or urgent care/walk-in care locations (standalone visit) will provide flu shots at no cost with no copayment. Retail pharmacy examples are CVS Pharmacy and Walmart Pharmacy.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Flu Shot Drive Thru Clinic
Do I need an appointment?
No appointment required.
What are the dates and times?
See table below for facility and CBOC dates and times.
Will the VA offer different vaccines based on my age?
Yes. If you are 65 years of age or older, you will be offered the Fluad vaccine which provides a stronger response and is indicated for individuals over 65. If you are you younger than 65 years of age, you will be offered the Afluria vaccine which is a standard dose quadrivalent vaccine.
Will my spouse be able to get a flu shot at the VA?
No. Spouses and caregivers will not be able to receive a flu shot at the facility or the CBOCs.
However, COVID-19 vaccines are available to your spouse and caregivers at the VA. Caregivers ages 12 years and older may receive the Pfizer vaccine and caregivers ages 18 and older may receive the Moderna or J&J vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are available at the Charles George VA Medical Center, Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No appointments required. At the CBOCs, COVID-19 vaccines are available Mondays – Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No appointment required but please call ahead to confirm vaccine availability.
What should I wear?
On the day of the clinic, we ask that you please wear a loose-fitting short sleeve shirt (or tank top), as you will need to roll up your sleeve.
What to expect?
- You will receive a handout about the influenza vaccine and a list of allergy questions.
- The nurse will administer a flu shot while you sit in your vehicle. For everyone’s safety, please stay in your car.
- After receiving the flu shot, you will be directed to a parking area to wait 15 minutes for monitoring. Although rare, allergic reactions can occur.
What special precautions will be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
- You will be asked COVID-19 screening questions.
- You must wear a face mask even when sitting inside your vehicle.
- You will stay in your vehicle.
- All staff will be wearing a face mask, face shield and gloves.
- Frequent handwashing and keeping surfaces clean.
FLU SHOT “DRIVE THRU” CLINICS
Charles George VA Medical Center
8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 – 24
Sept. 27 – Oct. 1
Oct. 6 and 7
Oct. 13 and 14
Oct. 20 and 21
Oct. 27 and 28
8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 and 7
8 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sept. 22 and 23
Sept. 29 and 30
Oct. 6 and 7
Oct. 13 and 14
Oct. 20 and 21
Rutherford County CBOC (in Forest City)
8:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Sept. 21 and 22
Sept. 28 and 29
Oct. 5 and 6
Do I need an appointment?
No appointment or referral is required.
Do I need to bring my VHIC card?
Yes, you should tell the in-network community care staff that you are an eligible Veteran who is enrolled with the VA and show a government-issued identification (e.g., Veterans Health Identification Card or driver’s license).
When can I get my flu shot in the community?
Starting Sept. 1, 2021
Where in the community can I get my flu shot?
Click on the below link for participating in-network community pharmacy or urgent care community providers (must be part of VA’s network). Click on VA Facility Locator weblink or enter https://www.va.gov/find-locations/
Are there instructions on how to locate a participating in-network pharmacy or urgent care provider?
Yes. After clicking on VA Facility Locator weblink.
- Enter City, State or Postal Code
- Under Facility Type, “Choose a Facility Type”, Select either Urgent care or Community pharmacies (in VA’s network) in the drop-down options
- Click the Search button
- For example, if enter “28805” as the zip code and select “Community Pharmacies (in VA’s network), the following information is provided: mileage, name of pharmacy, address, get directions and main telephone number.
If I have questions or need help with the weblink, who do I contact?
Call the Office of Community Care National Contact Center at (877) 881-7618.
Can I receive the high-dose flu shot at my community pharmacy or urgent care?
We cannot guarantee the 65 years of age and older vaccine will be available at your local pharmacy or urgent care. Flu vaccine manufacturers may differ from what is provided at the VA, as not all flu vaccines are made by the same company.
COVID-19 and Flu Shots
Can I receive the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines (like the flu shot) may be given together. If you receive more than one vaccine at a single visit, the vaccines will be given in different arms. For more information, please review the CDC website “Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States”. Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
Do I need to provide my Primary Care Team with documentation that I received the flu shot in the community?
Yes. If you receive a flu shot outside the VA, please ask for a copy of your vaccination record. Please telephone your Primary Care Clinic and provide them with the name of the pharmacy or provider and the date (month and year) you received a flu shot. You can also send a Secure Message via MyHealtheVet and provide the same information.
When is the best time to get a flu shot?
Get a flu shot in the fall as soon as it’s available, so you are protected the entire flu season. You will need to get a new flu shot very year to protect yourself from the flu viruses circulating this season.
How long does it take before I am protected?
After you get a flu shot, it takes about 2 weeks for your body to make enough antibodies to protect you against flu. Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system that identify and help remove foreign targets such as viruses and bacteria. The flu shot helps your body build these antibodies to fight flu viruses and prevent you from getting sick.
Can I get the flu from a flu shot?
No. this is a common misconception. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot because only inactive (dead) flu virus is used to make the flu shot vaccine. If you get the flu soon after getting a flu shot this could mean:
- You were exposed to the flu virus before the flu shot took effect.
- You have a weak immune system or other illness that causes your body to take longer to make antibodies and build immunity.
- Your body fails to make antibodies after getting a flu shot.
- The flu shot vaccine does not match all the flu viruses that are currently spreading.
Why do I need a flu shot every year?
Flu viruses can change over time, so every year the flu shot vaccine is updated to protect against the flu viruses most likely to spread that year. The viruses may change after the flu shot is made. Even if this happens, you will still get some protection from the flu shot.