Top five flu vaccine questions answered
Who should get vaccinated?It is flu season and time to get your yearly
flu shot to fight off the influenza virus. What you should know about the vaccine. Below are the top five questions about the vaccine:
- 1. Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, with the exception of individuals that:
- Have had a bad reaction to the vaccine in the past
- Are allergic to chicken eggs
- Have a fever that day
In addition, the following groups of people are especially encouraged to get vaccinated because they are at an elevated risk for flu-related complications or because they are in regular close contact with those at risk for flu-related complications:
- Pregnant women and those who live with them
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People 50 years of age and older and those who live with or care for them
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions and those who live with or care for them
- People who live or work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Health care workers
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
2. When should one get vaccinated?Individuals should get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available in their community. Being vaccinated before December is best because it is prior to the usual peak of flu season. However, being vaccinated anytime during the season, which can run as early as October and as late as May, can provide some protective benefits.
3. What types of flu vaccines are available?The flu vaccine is available as a “shot,” administered with a needle usually in the arm, but also as a nasal spray—also known as the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine or LAIV. The spray contains live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu virus. This nasal spray is appropriate for generally healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
4. Are there side effects?.The flu vaccine can have side effects. Most people who receive the vaccine have no serious reactions. If a reaction does occur, it begins soon after the vaccine has been administered and usually lasts 1 to 2 days. However, on rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. As of July 1, 2005, people who think that they have been injured by the flu shot can file a claim for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)Reactions depend on the type of vaccine and the population:
Possible side effects of the flu shot are:
- Soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever (low grade)
Possible side effects of the nasal spray (also called LAIV or FluMist®):
- In children: runny nose, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle aches and/or fever.
- In adults: runny nose, headache, sore throat and/or cough.
5. Where can I get vaccinated?You can find out where to get vaccinated by visiting: