What You Need to Know about the Seasonal Flu Shot(Source: The Center for Disease Control)
Who should get a seasonal flu shot?
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting seasonal flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious seasonal flu-related complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, the ACIP makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.
People who should get vaccinated each year are:
- Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
- Pregnant women
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Health care workers
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Who should not get a flu shot?
Talk with a doctor before getting a flu shot if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs or to a previous flu shot or
- People with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine
What are the risks from getting the flu shot?
- The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.
What are the side effects that could occur?
If the following side effects occur, they begin soon after the shot and usually last one to two days:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever (low grade)