We're on the last leg of summer meaning fall is upon us... meaning flu season is almost here.

This year, with the pandemic, health officials are urging people now more than ever to get their flu shots. Not only does it protect you from the flu but COVID cases are supposed to surge again in the fall, and hospitals need the space and the beds reserved for those patients. Since more people are expected to get flu shots this year, America's two major pharmacies already have them available: CVS and Walgreens.

Walgreens made the announcement on Monday saying that all 9,100 of their stores is now offering them.

With 78 percent of the population within five miles of a Walgreens store, consumers can safely and conveniently get their flu shots from specially trained Walgreens pharmacy teams who know which flu shot is right for patients based on their age and health history.

CVS told Forbes in an interview that they anticipates to give out 18 million flu shots this year -- double the amount of last year. Walgreens expects a 30-50% rise in demand.

Whether you're used to getting a flu shot or not, things are going to be different this year due to COVID-19. Here's what you need to know before taking getting the shot for yourself or family:

  • Pharmacists will do temperature checks and a quick health screening on people
  • Pharmacists will wear face shields while administering the shot
  • Both CVS & Walgreens are encouraging you fill out paperwork ahead of time & schedule an appointment (on their app or website). However, neither are required.
  • Patients must wear a mask or face covering
  • Bring ID and insurance information with you

The CDC recommends anyone 6 months and up get a flu vaccine. It begins to provide protection about two weeks after administration.

In case you're wondering, there is no difference between getting the flu shot at a pharmacy or your doctor. The manufacturers make them and then distribute them across the U.S. Most insurance carriers cover the cost of the vaccine, too.

Find your nearest CVS MinuteClinic here. For the nearest Walgreens location and to schedule your appointment, click here.

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