Influenza (Flu) Information

The Allegheny County Health Department and partner organizations are working to ensure that all members of our community have access to influenza (flu) vaccines. The flu vaccine can protect you from getting the flu and help stop it from being spread to your friends, family and neighbors. The flu is a serious infection and can affect anyone, even healthy people.

The flu vaccine is a safe and reliable way to lower the risk of getting the flu. And, if you do get the flu, the vaccine reduces the risk of serious illness – such as hospitalizations and the need for intensive care. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it even more important for residents to protect themselves by getting vaccinated because:

  • Symptoms of seasonal flu and COVID-19 are similar
  • The flu accounts for many fall and winter hospitalizations each year. Keeping individuals out of the hospital because of the flu means that hospital staff can focus on patients with COVID-19

Where Can You Get a Flu Shot?

In addition to your primary care provider, flu vaccines are available at drug stores, pharmacies, community health clinics and at pop-up events throughout the county. The Health Department is teaming up with providers to create a map with locations and events where you can get a flu shot. View the flu map.

Adding Flu Vaccine Events & Clinics to the Map
If your organization will be holding a flu vaccine event, or if you have a clinic or location that offers flu vaccines to the public, email us at for information on how to add an event to this map.

Requesting an Influenza Vaccine Event
Allegheny County is partnering with hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers to ensure that vaccines are available to all residents. If your organization would like to provide flu shots at an event or gathering, please email us at and we will match you with one of our partners who can help vaccinate your community.

  • Note: Individuals and families should refer to the map once it has been published to find locations to receive a flu shot.

Current Allegheny County Flu Data

View the current flu trends(PDF, 550KB) in Allegheny County. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Who should get the vaccine?

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine. Getting the vaccine is especially important for certain people who are at greater risk of serious illness and death from flu. They include:

  • Young children
  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic health conditions including heart, lung, or kidney diseases or those with conditions that weaken their immune systems like diabetes
  • Caretakers who live or work with patients who are at a high risk for developing flu-related complications
  • Health care workers
  • Family and caregivers of young children, especially infants

How effective is the flu vaccine?

The protection provided by a flu vaccine varies from season to season and depends in part on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine and the similarity or “match” between the viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation. During years when the flu vaccine match is good, the vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population, according to recent studies by the CDC.

The benefits of flu vaccination will vary, depending on factors like the characteristics of the person being vaccinated (for example, their health and age), what influenza viruses are circulating that season and, potentially, which type of flu vaccine was used. For more information from the CDC, visit the organization’s Vaccine Effectiveness – How well does the Flu Vaccine Work website.

Is the flu vaccine safe?

Yes, the flu vaccine is safe.

In very rare cases, individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the shot. Signs of serious allergic reaction can include breathing problems, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the shot. These reactions can occur among persons who are allergic to something that is in the vaccine, such as egg protein or other ingredients. While severe reactions are uncommon, you should let your doctor, nurse, clinic, or pharmacist know if you have a history of allergy or severe reaction to influenza vaccine or any part of flu vaccine.

Will the flu vaccine make me feel sick?

Flu vaccine side effects are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days. Some side effects that may occur from a flu shot include soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given, headache (low grade), fever, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Can I still get the flu if I get a flu vaccine?

There are several reasons why someone might get flu symptoms, even after they have been vaccinated against flu.

One reason is that some people can become ill from other respiratory viruses besides flu such as rhinoviruses, which are associated with the common cold, cause symptoms similar to flu, and also spread and cause illness during the flu season. The flu vaccine only protects against flu, not other illnesses.

Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to flu viruses, which cause flu, shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection. This exposure may result in a person becoming ill with flu before protection from vaccination takes effect.

A third reason why some people may experience flu symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a flu virus that is very different from the viruses the vaccine is designed to protect against. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the similarity or “match” between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those spreading and causing illness. There are many different flu viruses that spread and cause illness among people. View more information from the CDC on influenza viruses.

The final explanation for experiencing flu symptoms after vaccination is that flu vaccines vary in how well they work and some people who get vaccinated still get sick. When that happens, though vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in those people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

I’m over 65, are there special vaccines for me?

In addition to the regular flu shot, which is approved for all adults, high-dose flu vaccines were developed specially for those 65 and older.

For the 2022-23 flu season, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended for people 65 years and older. These are Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine, and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine.

Are vaccines free?

Flu shots are covered by most major insurance providers. To find vaccines that do not require insurance or copay, please use the map above. If you have a primary medical provider, please reach out to them to determine the best place for you to get your flu shot.

What is the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

There are some key differences between flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

How can I avoid getting sick with the flu or spreading it to others?

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid people who are sick. Stay home from work and school when you’re sick.
  • Keep your distance from others if you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw it away immediately. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after touching any objects or surfaces that might be contaminated.

What should I do if I get the flu?

Most people recover from the flu in a few days or weeks. If you are otherwise healthy:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink a lot of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Take medications to relieve the symptoms, but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, especially fever, without first talking to your doctor.

If you’re at special risk from complications, you should consult your health care provider right away when you begin to experience flu-like symptoms. At-risk groups include people 65 or older, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and children under 2 years old.

Even if you are not a member of a high-risk group, if your symptoms are unusually severe, (for example, you’re having difficulty breathing) consult your health care provider right away.

Certain prescription drugs may be used to lessen the severity and duration of the illness if taken within 24 to 48 hours of onset of symptoms.

Need more information? Please call the Allegheny County Health Department’s Immunization Clinic at 412-578-8062.