It’s that time – time to get your flu vaccination. Medicare Part B (Including Railroad Medicare) normally pays for one flu vaccination per flu season (can be in the winter or in the fall). The flu season typically starts in October and can continue through late May. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that most flu activity hits in the January/February time frame.
As always, this year’s flu vaccine is designed to protect against the types of the flu that research shows are more common during the season. It’s anticipated that 135 million to 139 million vaccination doses will be available in the United States.
There are different ways of receiving the vaccine (shot or nasal spray), and there are also different types of vaccination options. Traditional vaccines protect against three to four different kinds of flu viruses, two that are influenza A and one or two that are influenza B. Several of the vaccines are egg-based, meaning they are either manufactured in eggs or with egg protein. If you are sensitive to, or are allergic to eggs, you should discuss with your doctor which type of vaccine would be best for you.
The CDC recommends that everyone at least six months of age or older should get the flu vaccine. Individuals fitting the following characteristics are highly encouraged to have the vaccination:
1. Adults 50 years or older
2. Children younger than five years but older than six months
3. People at high risk of developing complications from the flu, such as pneumonia
4. Those with asthma, diabetes or chronic lung disease or other conditions, etc.
5. Pregnant women
6. Residents of nursing homes
7. People who are caregivers to individuals with illnesses listed above
You can receive a vaccination in many locations, such as clinics, local pharmacies, health departments, college health centers, as well as your doctor’s office. Most locations participate in Medicare, and you do not need to file a claim to Railroad Medicare if they participate in the Medicare Program.