About the vaccine:
- The flu vaccine provides protection against the most common types of the influenza virus each season.
- Immunity develops approximately two weeks after receiving the vaccine.
- The flu vaccine can reduce the risk of severe complications even if you end up getting the disease.
- Since the virus changes often and protection weakens over time, the flu vaccine is recommended every year for everyone over 6 months of age.
Flu vaccines differ in their production and delivery methods. The two primary methods of receiving the vaccine are by shot or nasal spray. Talk to your health care provider about which licensed, age-appropriate vaccine is for you or your child and let them know of any known allergies, including egg allergies.
Who should get it:
- Babies (over 6 months)
- Pregnant women
Populations at higher risk:
- All children 6 months – 5 years
- All older adults over 50 years of age
- All adults and children with certain underlying medical conditions
- Everyone over 6 months, once every year
- Children 6 months through 8 years may need 2 doses (at least 4 weeks apart)
The best time to receive the vaccine is before flu activity begins, usually around late October, but it is still beneficial to receive the vaccine at any point during flu season. Because immunity weakens over time, early vaccinations are not recommended for the best protection throughout flu season.
The flu vaccine can reduce the need for hospitalization by 74% in children and 82% in adults.
Safety & side effects:
Different types of flu shots are appropriate for different age groups and people with certain allergies or underlying medical conditions. Talk to your health care provider about which vaccine is best for you or your child.
Just as with any medication, there are potential side effects to vaccines. Talk to your health care provider about specific side effects associated with this vaccine and learn more about vaccine safety and common side effects.
Contracting the flu while pregnant is more likely to result in severe symptoms, especially during the second and third trimesters.
The flu vaccine is recommended for women who are pregnant, expect to be pregnant or are postpartum during flu season to protect both the mother and baby. It may be given at any point before, during or after pregnancy.
In addition to protecting the mother, immunity from the flu vaccine is passed along to the baby as well, protecting them for several months after birth until they are old enough to be vaccinated on their own.
There is no evidence associating vaccination during pregnancy with adverse outcomes for mother or child.
Pregnant women should not receive the nasal spray vaccine.
Learn more about vaccine safety and pregnancy.
The flu vaccine does not cause the flu.
Find a Clinic
There are thousands of health care providers participating in Florida SHOTS and Vaccines for Children programs across the state.
Influenza (flu) is a common contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe complications, including hospitalization and even death. Anyone can get the flu, but the very young, older adults, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of serious complications. Flu is typically more active during certain seasons, especially in fall and winter.
The influenza virus is transmitted through the air by way of tiny droplets created when an infected person coughs, sneezes or in some cases, simply breathes. The virus spreads when these droplets enter the mouth or nose of another person. A person can also contract the virus by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
An infected person remains contagious for three to seven days after symptoms begin, but it is possible to pass along the disease before you realize you are sick.
Getting the flu vaccine can decrease the risk of required health care provider visits by 40-60%.
Symptoms develop anywhere from one to four days after infection occurs. Common symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea
85,000 people in America were hospitalized because of the flu in 2017.