Who Should Get a Flu Shot?
Some people who get the flu become seriously ill and need to
be hospitalized. Some people even
die from illnesses related to the flu. That's why it's important
for you and your doctor to determine whether your family needs
the flu vaccine.
- Adults and children (> 6 months) who want to avoid the
- Adults and children (> 6 months) with chronic heart or
lung conditions & asthma
- Adults and children (> 6 months) who need regular medical
care or had to be in a hospital because of metabolic diseases
(like diabetes), chronic kidney disease, or weakened immune
- Persons 50 years or older
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Children and teenagers (6 months to 18 years) who are on
long-term aspirin therapy
- Women who will be more than 3 months pregnant during the flu
- Persons who provide important community services (such as
police, fire department personnel, emergency medical services,
doctors, nurses and hospital workers).
The flu vaccine reduces the average person's chances of catching
the flu by up to 80% during the season. For healthy young adults,
the flu shot reduces the risk of getting the flu by up to 90%.
Even if an immunized person gets the flu, symptoms usually will
be fewer and milder.
Is the Flu Vaccine Safe During Pregnancy &
Pregnancy can increase the risk for complications from the flu,
and pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized from complications
of the flu than non-pregnant women of the same age. Women who
will be beyond the first 3 months of pregnancy during the flu
season should get a flu shot. Pregnant women who have medical
problems that increase their risk for complications from the flu
should get a flu shot before the flu season, no matter their stage
of pregnancy. Also, it is safe to get a flu shot if you are breastfeeding.
A flu shot cannot cause flu in either you or your baby.
When Should You Get a Flu Shot?
We are now offering the flu vaccine, and recommend getting vaccinated
between September and mid-November (but you may be given the vaccine
at other times of the year). Flu season is from November to April,
with most cases occurring between late December and early March.
The best defense is get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes
The Vaccine Does Not Cause the Flu.
A common myth about the flu shot is that it can actually cause
the flu. But the flu vaccine in the United States is made from
killed influenza viruses, which means that it's impossible to
catch the flu by getting this vaccine. Each year, the vaccine
is updated to include the most current strains of the virus. After
getting a flu shot, a person's body will create antibodies to
fight the virus if exposed to it. Antibodies against flu develop
and provide protection within 1 or 2 weeks after vaccination.
Inactivated (killed-virus) influenza vaccine containing antigens
identical or similar to currently circulating influenza A and
B viruses has been shown in controlled trials to be 70-80% effective
in preventing influenza illness or reducing severity of influenza
illness in healthy children, adolescents, and adults under age
65.1-5 The vaccine has also been reported to reduce clinical symptoms
in health care workers,6 which may translate into a reduction
in transmission to high-risk patients.
vaccine should be administered annually to all persons ages 65
and older and to persons 6 months of age or older who are residents
of chronic care facilities or suffer from chronic cardiopulmonary
disorders, metabolic diseases (including diabetes mellitus), hemoglobinopathies,
immunosuppression, or renal dysfunction ("B" recommendation).
Influenza vaccine is also recommended for health care providers
for high-risk patients ("B" recommendation). In persons
at high risk for influenza A (e.g., during institutional outbreaks),
amantadine or rimantadine prophylaxis (200 mg/day orally) may
be started at the time of vaccination and continued for 2 weeks
("B" recommendation). A lower dose (less than or equal
to 100 mg/day) of amantadine is recommended for persons with reduced
creatinine clearance and those 65 years of age and older. A reduced
dosage (100 mg/day) of rimantadine is indicated for those with
reduced renal or hepatic function and for elderly nursing home
residents and may also be necessary in healthy persons 65 years
and older who experience side effects. Amantadine and rimantadine
are most useful as short-term prophylaxis for high-risk persons
who have not yet received the vaccine or are vaccinated after
influenza A activity in the community has already begun; when
the vaccine may be ineffective due to major antigenic changes
in the virus; for unimmunized persons who provide care for high-risk
persons; to supplement protection provided by vaccine in persons
who are expected to have a poor antibody response; and for high-risk
persons in whom the vaccine is contraindicated (i.e., those with
anaphylactic hypersensitivity to egg protein). If vaccine is contraindicated,
amantadine or rimantadine should be started at the beginning of
the influenza season and continued daily for the duration of influenza
activity in the community.
an Appointment for Flu Vaccination