Walsh urges Bostonians to get flu vaccine

Mayor Walsh received a flu vaccine shot last week. Mayor's Office photo

Mayor Martin J. Walsh got a flu shot at City Hall last week as his administration urged all Bostonians to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” before the flu season begins in earnest. “By getting vaccinated, you will help us slow the spread of the flu and ease the strain on our healthcare system that continues to treat patients battling COVID-19,” Walsh said.

Boston typically experiences a flu outbreak between October and March. Many of the symptoms —fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, sore throat and general weakness— are similar to COVID-19, for which there is no vaccine yet. The duration of flu illness, however, is usually much shorter.

"The flu is a serious virus and it is possible to have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time,” said Jennifer Lo, MD, the medical director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “While there may not be a vaccine for COVID-19 yet, there is a vaccine for the flu. That is why it is critical that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine as soon as possible.”

Many pharmacies in the city are offering flu shots to anyone three- years-old or older for no fee. It is best to call ahead. You may also get vaccinated by your own doctor at no cost or co-pay. If you don’t have insurance, you can call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 to get a voucher for a free flu shot.