Who should get the flu vaccine and when?
All people 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine.
Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe flu and their close contacts, including healthcare personnel and close contacts of children younger than 6 months.
Get the vaccine as soon as it is available. This should provide protection if the flu season comes early.
Flu can occur at any time, but most flu occurs from October through May. Getting vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available is a good idea, but if you delay, getting vaccinated later in the season will still be beneficial, as long as flu virus is still circulating.
Adults and older children need one dose of flu vaccine each year. But some children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two doses to be protected. Ask your doctor about vaccinating your child.
Flu vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including pneumococcal vaccine.
Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician.
Tell your doctor if you have any severe (life-threatening) allergies, including a severe allergy to eggs. A severe allergy to any vaccine component may be a reason not to get the vaccine. Allergic reactions to flu vaccine are rare.
Tell your doctor if you ever had a severe reaction after a flu shot. Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS). Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.
People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine. If you are ill, talk to your doctor about whether to reschedule the vaccination. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.
If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your health care provider.
A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.
The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely rare. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored.