October 14, 2021
As influenza (flu) season approaches and COVID-19 remains a threat, protect yourself, your family, and your workplace: Get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19
The FDA encourages food and agricultural workers to protect themselves by getting an annual flu vaccination and a COVID-19 vaccination. Throughout the pandemic, millions of workers on the front lines of processing, preparing, selling, and delivering food for humans and animals have remained steadfast and on the job. Right now, the best protection for you, your family, your workplace, and your community, is to get vaccinated against both the seasonal flu AND COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the healthcare community are preparing for the seasonal flu to spread this fall and winter. CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine by the end of October, ideally before flu activity starts. This season, it’s expected that flu viruses will spread at the same time as the virus that causes COVID-19. Since flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, you need both a flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine to be protected. A flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19.
Unlike during last year’s flu season, COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available in the U.S. Additionally, on September 22, 2021, the FDA authorized the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in certain populations. This booster should be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Food workers ages 18 to 64, who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupational or institutional setting, are eligible to receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completion of their primary series vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. In addition, all people age 65 and older are eligible to receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completion of their primary series vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. If you have not already received the COVID-19 vaccine, doing so can reduce your risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. For information on where to get a COVID-19 vaccine, visit: Vaccines.gov - Find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you.
According to CDC, the symptoms for both COVID-19 and the flu vary widely, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms, and the symptoms of the two diseases can overlap. Adults may be able to infect others with the flu beginning 1 day before symptoms are present and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and the flu can share include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea
CDC recommends that adults and children 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine by the end of October, ideally before flu activity starts. To learn more about how and where to get a flu shot, contact your doctor or employer and visit: www.cdc.gov/flu.
When an essential worker is vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19, they protect themselves, their families, co-workers, and their communities. Healthy workers help to ensure the availability of a safe and nutritious food supply.
- Consumer Update: It’s a Good Time to Get Your Flu Vaccine (FDA)
- For Businesses and Employers/Tools for Essential Workers (CDC)