The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu every year.
The flu does not discriminate and can be a potentially serious and even deadly disease for anyone, regardless of age or health status. Every year, otherwise healthy individuals of all ages suffer complications from flu that result in hospitalization and death. When you get an annual flu vaccine, you're less likely to suffer with flu, and you reduce your risk of hospitalization or death if you should get sick.
But it's not just about protecting yourself. Getting vaccinated also helps protect others you may come into contact with, such as family members, friends, co-workers, and community members.
The more people that are vaccinated, the less chance the flu virus has to spread. When we get vaccinated, we help reduce the overall transmission of flu, which in turn helps prevent the spread of flu to individuals who are at greatest risk for severe and fatal complications. This can include:
- children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- adults 65 years of age and older
- infants younger than 6 months of age who are not yet able to be vaccinated
- pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
- residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- people with certain health conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes and more
- people with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing certain kinds of cancer treatments
- American Indians and Alaska Natives
Page last reviewed: May 2020.