Flu Overview

Photo of older couple with text: Think of it as: your best defense. Get a flu vaccine. Knockoutflu.org

The Department of Health (DOH) collects data on flu activity (PDF) in Washington state all year. DOH publishes flu activity reports every week from the fall through the spring.

Don't forget a flu vaccine this season

Flu activity was kept low last season because of vaccination, social distancing, masking, school closures and limited travel. Now that pandemic restrictions are lifting, flu has a much higher chance of spreading. We can all do our part to prevent illness and hospitalizations caused by flu by getting vaccinated.

The flu vaccine is your best protection against flu

  • DOH recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged six-months and older, including pregnant and nursing people. If you are 65 or older, talk to your provider about flu vaccine and other important vaccines for your age group.
  • It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to protect you from flu. The flu vaccine does NOT protect against coronavirus, colds, or other viruses that cause respiratory illness.
  • The flu vaccine keeps many people from getting the flu. Some people who get the flu vaccine may still get sick. If you do get the flu, the vaccine will help reduce the severity of your illness. It will also lower your chance of needing to go to the hospital.
  • When you get the flu vaccine you will also protect your family and community.
  • You may also stop flu by covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and staying home when you're sick. Cloth face coverings (masks) help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the flu.

What's new for flu for 2021-2022

It's best to get your family vaccinated for flu by October, but flu vaccine is still available through winter. You may visit your local doctor's office, pharmacy or clinic event in your area. See www.vaccinefinder.org or call the Help Me Grow Washington hotline at 1-800-322-2588 (language assistance available) to find a flu vaccine location near you.

  • In Washington, all children under age 19 get flu vaccines and other recommended vaccines at no cost.
  • The provider may charge an administration fee to give the vaccine. You can ask them to waive this fee if you cannot afford it.
  • Most insurance plans, including Medicare part B, cover the cost of flu vaccine for adults.
  • Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can both be received in the same day, or even the same visit for convenience.
  • Talk to your local health department for information about other no-cost flu vaccine options that may be available in your community.

If you do feel sick with flu, it's important to know when to stay home and when to get emergency medical care.

Other Resources

About the Vaccine