Even healthy people need a flu vaccine.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease which affects the lungs and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.
Pregnant women, young children, older people, and people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications, so getting a yearly flu vaccine is especially important for them.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Yes. The flu vaccine is safe. They have been given to hundreds of millions of people for more than 50 years and have a very good safety track record. Each year, CDC works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.
Flu vaccines can’t give you the flu.
Even if you got a flu vaccine, there are reasons why you might still get flu or a flu-like illness.
- You may have been exposed to a non-flu virus before or after you got vaccinated. The flu vaccine can only prevent illnesses caused by flu viruses. It cannot protect against non-flu viruses that may cause a flu-like illness.
- Or you might have been exposed to flu after you got vaccinated but before the vaccine took effect. It takes about two weeks after you receive the vaccine for your body to build protection against the flu.
- Or you may have been exposed to an influenza virus that was very different from the viruses included in that year’s vaccine. The flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will cause the most disease during the upcoming season, but there can be other flu viruses circulating.
The flu vaccine doesn’t provide the same protections for everyone. How well the flu vaccine works can range widely from season to season and also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated.
Don’t avoid getting a flu vaccine because you don’t like shots.
The very minor pain of a flu shot is nothing compared to the suffering that can be caused by the flu.
You need to get a flu vaccine every year.
You need to get a flu vaccine every year to protect yourself against the viruses that research suggests are most likely to circulate each season. There are two reasons for getting a flu vaccine every year:
- Flu viruses are constantly changing, so flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses research indicate may be most common during the upcoming flu season.
- A person’s immune protection from the vaccine declines over time. Annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection.
About Nasal Spray "Flu Mist"
Previously, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices determined that the nasal spray flu vaccine, also called “flu mist”, should not be used during the 2017 - 2018 flu season due to the poor effectiveness of the vaccine in previous years. While it has returned to the market for the 2018 - 2019 flu season, its effectiveness is not yet known and it will not be available in Primary Health clinics or during on-site flu clinics.
Information is taken from The Centers for Disease Control. www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/general/no-excuses-flu-vaccine.pdf