There are vaccines to help prevent you and your family from getting very sick from common viruses. Get vaccinated and get protected this fall and winter!
Resipiratory infections are infections in parts of the body involved in breathing, such as the sinuses, throat, airways or lungs.
How do respiratory infections like the flu, RSV and COVID-19 spread?
These infections can spread
- from one person to another who is up to 6 feet away
- through air droplets from coughing, sneezing or talking
- by touching one’s own mouth, nose, or eyes
Masking works to help protect you from flu, RSV, and COVID-19!
The best way to prevent infection, or to protect yourself from severe illness if you do get sick, is to get vaccinated!
If you are sick from a viral illness, click here for some home care tips.
Learn more about
Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccines
Learn more about
The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine helps protect you from getting really sick with the flu, and keeps people out of the hospital.
If you are older than six months of age and are an Erie patient, you can get your flu vaccine at an Erie health center. Call 312-666-3494 to schedule a lab appointment for a flu vaccine at Erie. (COVID-19 vaccines may also be available).
It is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time.
If you have insurance, you may find it more convenient to make an appointment to get a flu vaccine at your local Walgreens (ages 3 and up).
Click here to find your closest Walgreens location.
Facts about the Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccines cannot give you the flu. Flu vaccines are made with either inactivated (killed) virus or with a single protein from the flu virus.
You need the flu shot every year.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Flu viruses change constantly, so the vaccine is reviewed each year and updated as needed, based on which flu viruses are making people sick.
The COVID-19 Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to keep people from getting very sick and dying from COVID-19.
If you are older than 6 months of age and are an Erie patient, you can get your COVID-19 vaccine at an Erie health center. Call 312-666-3494 to schedule a lab appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine at Erie.
- It is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time.
- Anyone under age 18 needs consent from a parent or legal guardian to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, unless they are pregnant, parenting or emancipated.
If you have insurance, you may find it more convenient to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine at your local Walgreens (ages 3 and up). Click here to find your closest Walgreens location.
Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. Visit:
If you are sick from a viral illness, click here for some home care tips, and for more information on COVID-19 testing.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated. This is the first time we’ve been faced with a situation like this in our lifetimes. And there have been times throughout history where our government and healthcare system has abused communities of color. All of this can lead to mistrust and concern.
We believe that COVID-19 vaccination is the best tool to help stop the pandemic, keep people from getting severely sick and dying, and to protect those around you who are vulnerable.
The COVID-19 vaccine development process included all the usual safety steps – none were skipped. The process was quicker than we’re used to for a few main reasons:
- Scientists and public health experts around the entire world focused their efforts on the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. This has not happened in our lifetimes!
- Companies produced millions of vaccine doses at the same time as the clinical trials were happening – this way, we would not need to wait to actually make the vaccines at the end of the safety tests.
- Scientists didn’t have to start from scratch. They used what they learned from previous coronavirus outbreaks like SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012 to help figure out the science behind how the COVID vaccine works.
All vaccines available now are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death from COVID-19.
The vaccines are effective for all genders, races and ethnicities.
Hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given out across the United States with no more than a handful of reports of serious side effects.
The most common side effects reported are:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Pain or swelling at the site of the injection (upper arm)
Any side effects typically go away after a day or two.
COVID-19 can be serious, and even deadly, and there is no way to know how the virus will affect you. And even if you catch the virus and don’t get very sick, you could still spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. COVID-19 has proven to have much more serious symptoms than the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is by far the safer bet.
The only people who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine are people with a history of severe allergies to its ingredients. Anyone with a history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can still receive the vaccine but will be monitored for 15 minutes longer after vaccination to ensure they are safe. People with mild to moderate allergies to food, the environment or medications are still highly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have further questions, talk to your healthcare provider.
Yes! The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are pregnant and breastfeeding.
There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems. If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes, you should. After you have recovered from COVID-19, scientists do not yet know how long you are immune from catching COVID-19 again. The vaccine will be your best protection.
No. Erie provides all of our care, including the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available, regardless of a person’s immigration status.
The RSV Vaccine
RSV is a respiratory virus that, in some cases, can be particularly serious for infants. In fact, RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants in the US. Good news: there is a new vaccine to help prevent RSV infection! Protect your baby this fall and winter.
The RSV shot helps protect pregnant women, elderly and infants from getting really sick and keeps people out of the hospital.
Erie strongly recommends that any baby currently younger than 8 months of age get vaccinated against RSV. Additionally, some babies age 8 – 20 months may also be eligible for the RSV vaccine, if they are at high risk for severe illness.
Talk to your provider about the RSV vaccine at your next visit.
Click here for RSV resources for parents.