Annual Flu Shot
Because influenza viruses are constantly changing, an annual flu vaccination is recommended as protection against the flu. The flu vaccine is commonly available starting in August and September, and throughout the flu season, which runs from August to May. It usually takes about two weeks for the vaccine to work, and its protection will last throughout the flu season.
This vaccine is given as an injection into the arm or thigh muscle, which is known as an intramuscular injection. The vaccine contains an inactive, or killed, virus so it is not possible for someone to get the flu from the vaccine.
Influenza Vaccination Schedule
- A single dose is recommended for most people
- Children younger than 9 years of age receiving influenza vaccine for the first time
- Two doses separated by at least 4 weeks
Influenza vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Flu Vaccine Side Effects
Flu vaccines are generally safe, but they can cause some problems for a few people:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever and aches
Severe Problems (Rare):
- Serious allergic reactions, with symptoms including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale skin
- Fast heartbeat
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain and reduce fever.
It's extremely rare for this vaccine to cause serious harm or death. If the person receiving the flu shot has a serious reaction, call the doctor or seek immediate medical attention.
Who Should Not Receive the Vaccination?
- Those with moderate or severe illness (for example, a severe cold, flu or infection of the sinuses or lungs) should not receive the vaccine until symptoms of the illness improve.
- People with history of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe paralytic illness, should talk to their doctor before getting the vaccine.
- Persons with hypersensitivity or an allergy to eggs should not receive the vaccine, as it is grown in eggs.
- Those who previously had a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine should not be vaccinated.
Walgreens: Vaccines subject to availability and immunizing professionals on duty. State, age and health-condition related restrictions apply. Other vaccines may be available. See the pharmacy for details.
Take Care: Vaccines subject to availability and immunizing professionals on duty. State, age and health-condition related restrictions apply. Other vaccines may be available. See clinic for details. Patient care services provided by Take Care Health Services?, an independently-owned professional corporation.
Medicare Part B: Medicare Part B generally covers one flu vaccine per beneficiary per flu season.