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Flu Vaccine Safety

Getting vaccinated is your best protection the flu. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that almost everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year. If you have high-risk conditions including asthma and heart disease, you should get vaccinated as early as possible each flu season.

The CDC also urges anyone who lives or works closely with an at-risk person to get vaccinated as soon as possible. If a loved one has existing health problems, it's a good idea for everyone in the home to be vaccinated for the flu.

To learn where you can get flu vaccines in your local community, see DHEC's Flu Vaccine Clinic Finder.

A Few People Should Not Get Flu Vaccine

There are only a few groups of people who should not receive the flu vaccine. They include:

  • Infants less than 6 months of age
  • Anyone allergic to eggs or flu vaccine ingredients, and
  • Anyone who has had Guillian-Barre syndrome within six weeks of a previous flu vaccination.

Are Flu Vaccines Safe?

Over the past 50 years, flu vaccines have been shown to be safe.

  • The benefits of immunization outweigh the risks.
  • All vaccines are held to the highest standard of safety and are continually monitored.
  • Each year, millions of Americans safely receive seasonal flu vaccines.

CDC and FDA Oversee Vaccine Safety

Every year, the CDC works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with health care providers, with DHEC and other state public health agencies, and with other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines. CDC and FDA both share responsibility for monitoring the safety of vaccines and ensuring systems are in place to promptly detect unexpected health problems following vaccination.

At CDC, the Immunization Safety Office (ISO) leads most of the agency's vaccine safety research and monitoring activities.

Get more detailed information on vaccine safety at these CDC websites:

Q & A: Vaccine Safety Monitoring Systems for the 2012- 2013 Season

Vaccine Selection for the 2014-2015 Influenza Season

Influenza Vaccine Safety

DHEC's video on the flu and the flu vaccine.

Reporting Adverse Vaccine Events

The Vaccine Adverse Event Report System (VAERS) is a national program managed by both CDC and FDA to monitor the safety of all vaccines licensed in the United States.

Anyone can file a VAERS report. VAERS relies on information included in these reports to monitor for clinically serious adverse events or health problems that follow vaccination.

Health Care providers are encouraged to voluntarily report possible adverse events of concern after vaccination, even if they are not certain that the vaccine caused the event.
Report an adverse event.

Information on Other Types of Vaccines

For information on other types of vaccines required for school attendance, please visit DHEC's Immunization website.

Locate a vaccine provider in your local area

For more information, contact us at (803) 898-0460, toll-free at (800) 277-4687, or at immunize@dhec.sc.gov.