Skip to content
Flu in South Carolina

Flu Vaccine Safety

child with inhalerGetting vaccinated is your best protection against the flu. The CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year. If you have high-risk conditions you are especially encouraged to get a flu shot because you are more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death.

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.

Talk to your health care provider about vaccination if you have a:

  • Severe allergy to chicken eggs;
  • History of severe reaction to a flu vaccination;
  • Moderate-to-severe illness (you should wait until you are better to get the vaccine);
  • History of Guillain–Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS).

Are Flu Vaccines Safe?

Seasonal flu vaccines have had very good safety track records. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans have received seasonal flu vaccines. The most common side effects following flu vaccinations are mild, and include soreness, where the flu shot was given and nasal congestion after the flu vaccine nasal spray.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitor flu vaccine safety and work with state and local health departments to ensure the safety of flu vaccines.

Can I get the flu from the 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 flu illness.

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.

Healthcare 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.

If you have additional questions about the flu or flu vaccine, please call 1-800-27SHOTS (1-800-277-4687) or visit the CDC’s Seasonal Influenza website or