Frequently Asked Questions
Who should get vaccinated?
Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine every year.
When should I get a flu vaccination?
You should get vaccinated as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available in the fall.
But if you have not been vaccinated by Thanks-giving (or the end of November), it can still be protective to get vaccinated in December or later. Seasonal flu usually peaks in January or February most years, but disease can occur as late as May.
Who should NOT get a flu vaccination?
There are some people who should NOT be vaccinated without first consulting a physician.
Talk to your health care provider if you have: a severe allergy to chicken eggs; a history of a severe reaction to a flu vaccine; a moderate-to-severe illness (you should wait until you are better to get the vaccine); a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS).
Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?
Getting a flu vaccination each year is the single best way to prevent the flu.
Can I get the flu from a flu vaccine?
No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal spray. The flu shot contains killed flu viruses. The nasal spray contains weakened flu viruses. Neither the flu shot nor the flu vaccine nasal spray can cause the flu. Some minor side effects that could occur are:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever (low grade)
- Nasal congestion
If these problems occur, they begin soon after the vaccine and usually last 1 to 2 days. Almost all people who receive influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it. However, on rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.
What kinds of flu vaccines are available?
The flu vaccine is available by shot or nasal spray. You may be able to choose the shot or the spray, but this depends on your age and how healthy you are. Talk to your health care provider to find out which one you can receive.
Visit this CDC website to learn more about the flu shot and the flu vaccine nasal spray.