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In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses circulate all year, flu activity peaks between December and February most of the time but can last until as late as May. The overall community health impact of flu season varies from year to year, but there are always preventive steps we can take.



Annual flu vaccination is the most powerful protection available to prevent serious illness and complications. It is safe and does not cause the flu.

  • All Boston and Grafton campus Health Sciences students are required to receive an annual flu vaccine this year. See more information on Health Sciences immunizations.
  • Tufts strongly recommends all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against influenza during the 2022-2023 flu season, following CDC guidance.
  • If you were not able to get to an on-campus flu clinic this fall, you can schedule an appointment a local retail pharmacy to get a flu shot. Remember to bring your insurance card for billing.
  • Learn more about the university’s Influenza vaccination policies and requirements.

Southern Hemisphere Vaccinations

If you get a flu vaccination in the southern hemisphere between March and June, you need to get another flu shot when you arrived at Tufts in September, since it will be the beginning of a new flu season in the northern hemisphere.

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Vaccination Clinics

Tufts periodically offers vaccination clinics for influenza and COVID-19 booster shots. Check to see if there are any upcoming clinics scheduled and to find registration information as it's available.

Upcoming Clinics

Influenza FAQs

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
    • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths.
    • During seasons when the flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.
    • Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2018-2019 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 58,000 flu-related hospitalizations.
    • A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
    • In recent years, flu vaccines have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among older adults on average by about 40%.
    • 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82 percent.
  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions
    • Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of cardia events in people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.
    • Flu vaccination can reduce worsening and hospitalization for flu-related chronic lung disease, such as in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
    • Flu vaccination also has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with chronic lung disease.

No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness.

While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of bad case of flu.

A flu shot: The viruses in a flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are:

  • Soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given
  • Headache (low grade)
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
  • While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.

Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms.  People at high risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

You may take a photo of your completed consent form, after it is signed by the immunizer during your appointment, to keep as a copy of your flu vaccination record.

To obtain a copy of the consent form you submitted at the clinic, please contact the original store that administered your flu vaccine:

  • Boston and Grafton students can email with questions or to obtain their consent form.
  • Consent forms can also be obtained by contacting the clinic that administered the flu clinic.
  • To obtain your lot information, please contact any Walgreens.
  • Your Walgreens account will have a copy of your flu vaccine prescription. You can create an account on the Walgreens website. Information is available in your account approximately 7 days after your flu clinic date.

Medford Walgreens Store: #19536 467 Salem Street, Medford, MA | Tel: 781-396-8350

Boston Walgreens Store: #2933 841 Boylston Street, Boston, MA | Tel: 617-236-1692

Framingham Walgreens Store: #1855 15 School Street, Framingham 01701 | Tel: 508-788-0604


In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May. The overall health impact (e.g., infections, hospitalizations, and deaths) of a flu season varies from season to season.

CDC collects, compiles, and analyzes information on influenza activity year-round in the United States and produces FluView, a weekly surveillance report, and FluView Interactive, which allows for more in-depth exploration of influenza surveillance data.  The Weekly U.S. Influenza Summary Update is updated each week from October through May.