About the seasonal flu vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides this information about the seasonal flu vaccine.
What’s in the seasonal flu vaccine?
Each seasonal influenza vaccine contains three influenza viruses: one A (H3N2) virus, one regular seasonal A (H1N1) virus.
Are there two kinds of vaccine for the seasonal flu?
Yes, the vaccine can be administered as either a shot or in a nasal mist.
The shot is injected in the arm and contains a dead virus. The inactivated flu injection is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions
The mist vaccine is administered as a nasal spray and contains a live, weakened virus that cannot grow well in human tissue. Healthy non-pregnant people ages 2 through 49 years old without any chronic health conditions are eligible for flu mist vaccine.
If you have an underlying health condition or a special medical concern, check with your doctor about which vaccine is most appropriate.
When should I get vaccinated?
Seasonal flu vaccination can begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available. Because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary, you can get a vaccination throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.
Who should get the seasonal flu vaccine?
- Children age 6 months to 19 years
- Pregnant women
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for individuals at high risk for flu complications.
- Anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting seasonal flu.
Who should not get a seasonal flu vaccination?
Some people should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician. These groups include:
- Children less than 6 months of age.
- People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
- People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
Will the H1N1 flu vaccine I get protect me against the seasonal flu?
No. The 2009 H1N1 flu is different from the seasonal flu, so the H1N1 flu vaccine won’t work against seasonal flu. You will need to get two different vaccines this year, one for seasonal flu and one for 2009 H1N1 flu.
For more information about the seasonal flu vaccine
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm.
Last updated Mar 22, 2019