The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against influenza (flu) is to get a flu vaccine every flu season. Flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, or even death. CDC recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccine.
What are some key reasons to get a flu vaccine?
• Every year, flu vaccination prevents illnesses, medical visits,
hospitalizations, and deaths.
• Flu vaccination also is an important preventive tool for
people with chronic health conditions. For example, flu
vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some
cardiac events among people with heart disease.
• Vaccinating pregnant women helps protect them from flu
illness and hospitalization, and also has been shown to
help protect the baby from flu infection for several months
after birth, before the baby can be vaccinated.
• A 2017 study showed that flu vaccine can be life-saving
• While some people who get vaccinated still get sick, flu
vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce
the severity of illness.
Why is it important to get a flu vaccine EVERY year?
• Flu viruses are constantly changing, so flu vaccines maybe
updated from one season to the next to protect against the
viruses that research suggests will be common during the
upcoming flu season.
• Your protection from a flu vaccine declines over time.
Yearly vaccination is needed for the best protection.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Flu vaccines have a good safety record. Hundreds of millions of
Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years.
Extensive research supports the safety of seasonal flu vaccines.
Each year, CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for
flu vaccines. More information about the safety of flu vaccines is
available at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccinesafety.htm.
What are the side effects of flu vaccines?
Flu shots: Flu shots are made using killed flu viruses (for inactivated
vaccines), or without flu virus at all (for the recombinant vaccine). So,
you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may
occur include soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was
given, low-grade fever, and aches.
Nasal spray flu vaccines: The viruses in nasal spray flu vaccines are
weakened and do not cause the severe symptoms often associated
with influenza illness. For adults, side effects from the nasal spray may
include runny nose, headache, sore throat, and cough. For children,
side effects may also include wheezing, vomiting, muscle aches, and
If these problems occur, they are usually mild and go away on their
own, but serious reactions are also possible. Almost all people who
receive the flu vaccine have no serious problems from it.
When and Where to get vaccinated?
You should get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, as long
as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout
flu season, even in January or later.
Flu vaccines are offered in many doctors’ offices and clinics. Flu
the vaccine is available in many other locations, including health