Why Get Vaccinated?
Influenza ("flu") is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every winter, usually between October and May. Flu is caused by the influenza virus, and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and close contact.
Anyone can get the flu, but the risk of getting the flu is highest amoung children, Symptoms can come on suddenly and may last several days. They can include:
Flu can make some people much sicker than others. These people include young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditons- such as heart, lung, or kidney diesase, or a weakend immune system. Flu vaccine is especially important for these people, and anyone in close contact with them.
Flu can lead to pneumonia, and make existing medical condtiotns worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year thousands of people in the United States die from the flu, and many more are hospitalized.
Flu Vaccine can:
Inactivated and recombinant flu vaccines
A does of the flu vaccine is recommened every flu season. Children six months through eight years of age may need two doeses during the same flu season. Everyone else needs only one dose each flu season. Some inactivated flu vaccines contain a very small amount of a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal. Studies have not shown thimersol in vaccines to be harmful, but flu vaccines do not contain thimersoal are available. There is no live virus in flu shots. They cannot cause the flu. There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in upcoming flu season. But even when the vaccine doesn't exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection.
Flu vaccine cannot prevent:
It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination, and protection last through the flu season.
Some people should not get this vaccine
Tell the person who is giving you the vaccine:
Risks of a vaccine reaction
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible. Most people who get a flu shot do not have any problems with it.
Minor problems following a flu shot include:
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 to 2 days.
More serious problems following a flu shot can include the following:
Problems that could happen after any injected vaccine:
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
What if there is a serious reaction?
What should I do?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines. Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim compensation.
How can I learn more?
Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)