Frequently Asked Questions for Flu Clinics
Who should get vaccinated?
In general, anyone who wants to reduce his or her chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated.
When should I get a flu vaccination?
Early fall — October or November — is the best time to get vaccinated, but you can still get vaccinated in December and later. Flu season can begin as early as October and last 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. These include:
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past
- People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within six months of getting an influenza vaccine previously
- Influenza vaccine is not approved for use in children less than 6 months of age
- People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.
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 shot?
No, the viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that could occur are:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever (low grade)
If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot 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.
Pneumonia Vaccine (Pneumovax)
What is a pneumonia vaccination?
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Most healthy adults who get the vaccine develop protection to most or all of these types within two to three weeks of getting the shot.
Who should have a pneumonia shot?
A single dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for most persons 65 years or older. Some people who were younger than 65 when they received the vaccine may need a second dose at age 65.
Who should NOT have a pneumonia shot?
Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous pneumococcal vaccine should not get a pneumonia shot.
How do I know if a pneumonia shot is indicated for me?
Vaccination against pneumococcal disease is recommended for:
- Persons 65 years of age and older.
- Everyone 2 years of age and older with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes; heart, kidney, liver or chronic lung diseases (excluding asthma*); or alcoholism.
- Those whose immune systems have been weakened by such conditions as cancer or HIV infection.
- People without a functioning spleen and those with sickle cell disease.
Why should I have a tetanus shot?
Tetanus is caused by Clostridium tetani, a spore-forming germ that is very common in soil worldwide. These spores enter the body at the site of a cut or other injury. Tetanus is often a fatal disease. Since the spores cannot be avoided in the environment everyone should have a tetanus shot at least every 10 years.
What tetanus vaccine will the health department be using for tetanus shots?
There are several different vaccines available. Td is the most common vaccine used for adults and children over 7 years. It is a booster shot for people who have already had a primary series (complete baby shots). Td also boosts diphtheria immunity.
Why should I have a shot that also includes pertussis?
Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) is a new vaccine for teens and adults (ages 11 to 64). Pertussis (whooping cough) has been added to Td to boost pertussis immunity in teens and adults. Pertussis immunity decreases as time passes from the last immunization (previously given before age 7 years). Many teens and adults are no longer immune to Pertussis. Pertussis is very dangerous to infants under a year of age and is often spread to infants by teens and adults who are no longer immune. It is recommended that teens and adults age 11 to 64 receive a single shot of Tdap instead of the usual Td booster. This is particularly important for teens and adults who have regular contact with infants and young children.
Who should have a tetanus shot?
Soil contaminated with tetanus spores cannot be easily avoided in the environment so everyone should have a tetanus shot.
Who should NOT have a tetanus shot?
People who have had serious allergic reaction to Td in the past should not have to have another tetanus shot. This is not common.
How do I know if I need a tetanus shot?
Everyone should have a booster shot with either Td or Tdap between 5 to 10 years after his or her last booster shot.
Are there any side effects from any of these shots?
The most common problems seen after these shots are a redness, swelling and pain at the site of the injection. Sometimes this is severe. This usually goes away in a day or two without treatment. In addition some people get headache, fever, fatigue and muscle aches for a day or two.
A serious allergic reaction may occur after any vaccination but these are rare. GBS (Gullian-Barré Syndrome) and other neurologic syndrome occur very rarely. Pertussis containing vaccines were associated with high fever, shock, inconsolable crying and a brain disorder in the past. The new products contain a different Pertussis antigen and are much safer. Serious life threatening reaction is possible but is very uncommon.
If, after reading the information available on our website, you have questions about the vaccine,
please call 1-800-27SHOTS (1-800-277-4687).