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[Q&A] Free flu shots to be given in S. Korea starting Sept. 14 Updated: 2021-09-07 07:05:28 KST

Beginning September 14th, South Korea is giving free influenza or flu shots to more than 14 million people.
Health authorities stress the need to get one on top of a COVID-19 vaccination.

"COVID-19 and Influenza are different diseases. We recommend vaccinations to high-risk groups including the elderly, children and pregnant women every year."

But who will be eligible for free Influenza shots this year?
Starting next Tuesday adults aged over 65. children between 6 months and 13 years old, and pregnant women can get the shots.
As per the vaccination schedule those between 6 months and 8 years old who are getting the shot for the first time need two doses starting September 14th.
Pregnant women are also eligible to get one from September 14th.
Those in need of one dose can get theirs from October 14th.
The dates differ for those over 65 but flu shots will be administered until February 28th next year.

But as the COVID-19 vaccination program continues, how long of an interval is needed between COVID-19 shots and flu shots?
The authorities said no interval is necessary meaning people can get two different vaccines on the same day but will need to do so into a different arm.
However, experts have differing opinions.
Some are recommending a 3-week gap in between.

"The flu vaccine may cause some muscle pain or other side effects. We don't know anything about how these two different vaccines will work together. But I think it would be safer to have an interval between them."

What about any side-effects from flu shots?
The KDCA says that 15 to 20 percent of people may experience some pain and redness on their arm which will disappear in one or two days.
People may complain of headaches, muscle pain, and fevers but these side effects are expected to last for just one or two days.

To apply for a flu shot it's just like booking COVID-19 vaccine.
People can make reservations at a local medical center via the KDCA website or by calling directly.

Meanwhile, those who are not eligible to get the free shots will able to get their flu jabs for a cost of around 35 U.S. dollars by simply calling a local medical center and will be able to get both the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine on the same day if needed.
Choi Won-jong, Arirang News.
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