Even healthy people need a flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease that affects the lungs and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia.
You need to get a flu vaccine every year.
By getting vaccinated annually, you can protect yourself against the viruses that research suggests are most likely to circulate each season.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Yes. The flu vaccine is safe. It has been given to hundreds of millions of people for more than 50 years and has a very good safety track record. Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.
Flu vaccines can’t give you the flu.
Even if you got a flu vaccine, there are reasons why you might still get the flu or a flu-like illness.
You may have been exposed to a non-flu virus before or after you got vaccinated. The flu vaccine can only prevent illnesses caused by flu viruses. It cannot protect against non-flu viruses that may cause flu-like illnesses.
Or you might have been exposed to the flu after you got vaccinated but before the vaccine took effect. It takes about two weeks after you receive the vaccine for your body to build up protection against the flu.
The most common side effects of flu vaccines are mild.
For example, people vaccinated with the flu shot may feel achy and may have a sore arm where the shot was given.
Are you at risk for serious complications from the flu?
If you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or certain other chronic medical conditions, you’re at risk for flu complications that could lead to hospitalization or even death. Vaccination is your best protection against the flu.
Where to get a flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations. Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccination somewhere else, including doctors’ offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores, pharmacies, and health centers — as well as through many employers and schools.