Adults will need just one vaccination. Children between 6 months and 9 years old who are receiving a flu vaccination for the first time will need two doses, spaced at least a month apart.
See our vaccination page to learn how to get a flu vaccination.
No on-campus parking will be available for the clinics this year due to construction in and around the Kendall Square area. We strongly urge patients coming to campus walk-in clinics to take public transportation. The MIT Medical patient parking lot will be reserved for patients with same-day appointments and will not be available for patients coming to flu clinics.
Yes, if they are covered by an MIT health plan and get their healthcare at MIT Medical. If your family member is not covered by an MIT health plan, or if your family member has a primary care provider outside of MIT Medical, he or she may not get a shot. Note that children must be older than 10 to get their shot at one of our walk-in clinics.
If you miss the walk-in clinics or can’t make any of those dates, just call the MIT Medical Flu Line at 617-253-4865 to schedule a time to stop by MIT Medical for your shot.
All patients at our walk-in clinic will receive a carbon copy of their shot form as written proof of receiving their vaccine. There are other options also:
- If you have a HealthELife account with MIT Medical, just log on and print out documentation of all your immunizations.
- If you have a primary care provider at MIT Medical, you can call his or her office to request the documentation you need.
- You may call the MIT Medical Flu Line at 617-253-4865, and we’ll track down the information you need.
No, you will have to make an appointment with your primary care provider to get the pneumonia vaccine.
Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be able to get a flu shot at a CVS Minute Clinic or another retail pharmacy with no out-of-pocket costs. Certain restrictions apply, based on the type of coverage you have. Ask MIT Medical’s Claims and Member Services if you’re covered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 617-253-5979.
Every year, the seasonal flu vaccine produces mild side effects in approximately 5 to 10 percent of people (most commonly, soreness at the site of the vaccination). An extremely small number of people experience a more serious allergic reaction. In general, however, most experts believe that the risk from flu itself is greater than any potential risks from a vaccine, particularly for the most vulnerable groups. The CDC estimates that during the 30 years between the 1976–1977 flu season and the 2006–2007 season, the number of flu-associated deaths in the U.S. ranged from roughly 3,000 to 49,000 people per season.
However, some people should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician. These include:
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
- People who have had a severe reaction to a previous influenza vaccination
- People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting a previous influenza vaccination
- Children younger than six months old
- People who, on the day they had planned to get a vaccination, have a moderate to severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated).
One of the most severe complications of influenza is the increased risk of developing bacterial pneumonia—especially with the pneumococcus bacteria. For this reason, pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax) is recommended for some people, including:
- Adults aged 65 or older
- People with underlying medical problems such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and several other conditions.
For more information, see “Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine: What You Need to Know.”
FluMist is not available at MIT Medical.
Fluzone High-Dose is approved for persons aged 65 and older and is shown to prevent influenza better than the regular flu vaccine. It has not yet been shown to reduce the risk of influenza-related hospitalization, pneumonia, or death. For this reason, the American College of Immunization Practice has not stated a preference for Fluzone High-Dose. Fluzone High-Dose covers three different strains of influenza while the regular flu vaccine covers four different strains. Both vaccines are available at the walk-in flu clinics and at MIT Medical.
Yes! There is one brand of flu vaccine that is produced without chicken eggs—FluBlok. FluBlok is not available at MIT Medical but may be available at retail pharmacies. Read more about FluBlok and find out where to get it at FluBlok.com. See also “Will my health insurance cover the cost if I get a shot off campus?“ People who have had only a mild allergic reaction to egg—that is, one that only involved hives—should speak with their primary care provider about getting a flu shot.
“Incubation period” refers to the period between the time an individual becomes infected with an illness and the time he or she begins showing symptoms. For flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that this period is between one and four days. According to the CDC, people infected with influenza are probably infectious—in other words, able to transmit the infection to other people—one day before they begin showing symptoms.
Viruses are spread mainly through uncovered coughs and sneezes, which can end up contaminating doorknobs, keyboards, and other surfaces. You may become sick after touching a contaminated surface, and then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself and others:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home if you are feeling sick.
To prevent the spread of illness, disinfect commonly touched hard surfaces in the workplace by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label. This includes counter tops, door knobs, telephones, copy machines, work stations, and bathroom surfaces. Studies have shown that flu viruses do not remain infectious on environmental surfaces for more than eight hours. Frequent hand washing is the best way to avoid infection from contaminated surfaces.
Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people also report diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home and rest. If you are an MIT student, call MIT Medical to notify us of your illness and to get advice on treatment. If you do become ill, you should avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Stay home and avoid close contact with other people until your temperature has remained normal for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Human Resources at MIT has additional information on leave and payment policies for employees and policies that would go into effect in the case of more widespread illness or another emergency.
Most patients do not get seriously ill with flu and recover completely without medical intervention. The antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamavir) should be used only in severe cases or in patients with medical conditions that put them at risk for serious complications from the flu (see “Who is at higher risk for developing serious complications from influenza?”).
You probably don’t need to be seen for flu-like symptoms unless you are pregnant or have an underlying medical condition that puts you at higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu (see “Who is at higher risk for developing serious complications from influenza?”), or unless your symptoms are serious.
In adults, serious symptoms in adults include:
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- sudden dizziness, confusion
- severe or persistent vomiting
- flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
In children, serious symptoms include:
- fast breathing or trouble breathing
- bluish skin color
- not drinking enough fluids
- not waking up or not interacting
- not urinating, or no tears when crying
- severe and persistent vomiting
- flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
People who are at higher risk of serious complications from influenza include:
- pregnant women
- people older than 65 or younger than 2
- people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease
- people whose immune systems are suppressed due to medications or medical conditions