Everyone 6 months and older needs a flu vaccine every year to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick with the flu.
It's not "just" the flu - it's a serious, but preventable, disease!
Flu vaccines can reduce the chances of getting sick with the flu by up to 60%. Even if you still get sick, people who are vaccinated have less severe flu symptoms and are less likely to be hospitalized or die from flu-related complications.
Annual flu vaccination is the most important step to prevent getting and spreading the flu.
Illness from Flu
Flu vaccines have been used since 1945 with very good safety records. Vaccines go through years of research and clinical trials before they are made available to the general public.
Absolutely not. To cause infection, flu viruses need to reproduce, i.e., make copies of themselves. Flu vaccines, regardless of how they are made, do not contain viruses that can reproduce and make you sick with the flu.
Some people may experience redness and swelling at the site of injection, fever, headache, and/or muscle aches. These side effects are actually evidence that your body is responding to the vaccine to fight off a future flu infection. The risk of a severe allergic reaction in those who are vaccinated is less than one in one million!
Because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines are updated from one season to the next to protect against the types of flu that are most likely to make people sick. Unlike other vaccines, flu vaccines are not intended to last longer than one year.
There are different types of vaccines such as:
Inactivated vaccines contain a dead/killed virus that are administered as a “shot” with a needle.
Nasal spray vaccines contain a live, weakened flu virus that is sprayed into the nose instead of being administered as an injection.
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Page last reviewed: September 2021.