Flu Prevention Information

Influenza is a serious disease that kills 36,000 people per year, and hospitalizes 200,000. Fletcher Allen strongly recommends that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated. It is the best way to protect yourself, family, friends and co-workers from getting the flu. Unlike last year, only one dose of vaccine is needed to provide protection against seasonal and H1N1 (swine) flu. There are no concerns about a shortage of supply. Even if you got the 2009 H1N1 or the regular seasonal flu vaccine last year, you need to get vaccinated again because flu viruses change every year.

To find a flu shot clinic in your area, go to the Vermont Department of Health website at healthvermont.gov or dial 2-1-1.

What should I expect when visiting Fletcher Allen?

Please don’t visit someone in the hospital if you have flu-like symptoms. We want to protect all of our patients and staff from this disease. Postponing a visit until you have recovered will be appreciated by everyone.

If you must come to the hospital or other Fletcher Allen facilities, you will be asked to wear a surgical mask if you have flu-like symptoms. You will see signs at reception desks and in other locations requesting that you frequently clean your hands with sanitizer that is provided for free.

How do I know if I have the flu? What are the symptoms of the flu?

Flu symptoms include fever, body aches, tiredness, headache, dry cough and fever. If you have symptoms that you think might be flu-related, call your primary care provider to determine if you need medical attention.

How can I avoid getting or spreading the flu?

Vaccination is your best protection, but there are other simple things you can do:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze every time with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often and well with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home if you’re sick for at least 24 hours after fever is gone.

Can I get my flu vaccinations at the hospital?

Fletcher Allen is not conducting vaccination clinics for the general public at the medical center campus. Visitors to the hospital and members of the public should visit healthvermont.gov or dial 2-1-1. for information on vaccination clinics.

Do your medical providers get vaccinated?

Each year Fletcher Allen makes a comprehensive effort to vaccinate all clinical and non-clinical employees. Our vaccination rates for medical providers are more than double the national average, and we are striving to get to 100% participation.

Is the flu shot safe?

Flu vaccines do not cause influenza. They contain inactivated viruses which cannot cause infection. Billions of shots have been administered safely over the past three decades.

Does the flu vaccine work?

Studies show flu vaccines are 70 – 90% effective for those under age 65 when there is a good match between circulating viruses and those in the vaccine. Getting the vaccine is your best protection against this disease

Will flu vaccine make me sick?

The worst side effect you are likely to get from the shot is a sore arm. The risk of a severe allergic reaction is less than one in four million.

Where can I find more information?

Visit the Vermont Department of Health website at healthvermont.gov or dial 2-1-1.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers comprehensive information on its website flu.gov