Will I get the flu from the flu shot?
No. Flu vaccine is created from dead or inactive viruses that are not contagious.
Do I need a flu shot every year?
Yes. Influenza viruses continually change every year. A new vaccine is used annually to fight the most current influenza virus. In addition, the antibody a person develops from the vaccine declines over time.
I heard that the flu vaccine is the same for the upcoming season as it was last season. Do I need to get vaccinated again?
Yes. People should get vaccinated every year because even if the viruses in the vaccine are the same as the year before, immunity to influenza viruses declines over time and may be too low to provide protection after a year.
Who and when should one get a flu shot?
The CDC recommends that all people age 6 months and older receive a flu shot every year. Influenza usually occurs from November until April, with activity peaking between late December and early March. Historically, most influenza immunizations are administered between September and November.
How effective is the flu shot?
The flu vaccine has been determined to be effective in preventing influenza in about 70% - 90% of healthy people under the age of 65 and is your best method of protection. Among elderly persons not living in chronic-care facilities and people with long-term medical conditions, the flu shot is 30%-70% effective in preventing hospitalization for pneumonia and influenza. Among elderly nursing home residents, the flu shot is most effective in preventing severe illness, secondary complications, and deaths related to the flu. In this population, the shot can be 50%-60% effective in preventing hospitalization or pneumonia and 80% effective in preventing death from the flu.
Can I still get the flu after I get the flu shot?
Yes. Like other vaccines, flu vaccine is not 100% effective and does not take effect until one or two weeks after it is received. During this time, you will be just as susceptible to contract the flu as individuals who have not received the vaccination. Still, the best option to prevent the flu is to get a yearly flu shot.
Am I classified as high-risk?
You are classified as high-risk if you fall under one of the following categories:
What are the side effects of getting a flu shot?
- 65 years of age or older
- A household contact of persons at increased risk of influenza-related complications
- A resident of a nursing home or other chronic care facility where some of the residents have chronic medical conditions
- Have a chronic medical condition such as: asthma or another lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, blood disease, etc.
- Have immune system problems caused either by disease (e.g., HIV or lymphoma) or by medication (e.g., chemotherapy or radiation therapy)
- Women who will be pregnant (any trimester) during the influenza season
- A child or teenager, 6 months – 18 years of age, who is receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- A healthcare worker
For most people, vaccination causes no side effects. Less than one-third of those who receive a flu shot will experience some redness and/or soreness at the vaccination site, and only 5% to 10% will suffer mild side effects such as low-grade fevers and headaches. If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 – 2 days.
The flu virus can spread by direct contact or through indirect contact, such as when an infected coworker sneezes on his or her hands and touches an object like the breakroom microwave.
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