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Flu Vaccine FAQs

General information on seasonal flu vaccine

Who should get a flu shot? 

Who should NOT get a flu shot?

Where to get a flu shot 

General information on seasonal flu vaccine 

There are three types of seasonal influenza vaccine:

  • Trivalent and Quadrivalent Inactivated Virus vaccines, the "traditional" flu shot
  • Trivalent Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV), the nasal-spray flu vaccine is approved for use only in healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant
  • Intradermal flu vaccine, which uses a very short needle to inject the vaccine into the skin.  This shot is FDA-approved for use only in adults ages 18-64 years of age. 

Who should get a flu shot?

The CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) now recommends that all individuals 6 months of age and older should receive a flu shot.  It is especially important for persons to get a flu shot if they are at higher risk for health complications due to influenza illness or care for those that are considered to be high risk.

The following groups are at higher risk in developing flu complications themselves or care for those that are at higher risk:

  • Children younger than 5 years of age, especially children less than 2 years of age

  • Adults 50 years of age and older

  • Pregnant women

  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

  • Healthcare workers

  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu

  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)  

  • People of any age with the following underlying health conditions:

    • Asthma

    • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation[, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury)

    •  Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)

    • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)

    • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)

    • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)

    • Kidney disorders

    • Liver disorders

    • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
      Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)

    • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy

    • People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 40 or greater)

Who can NOT receive a flu shot?

Individuals who are not sure if they fall within one of the categories below should consult their primary medical provider before getting a flu shot.

  • Individuals who have allergies to chicken eggs that have resulted in anaphylactic hypersensitivity or who have had severe reactions to flu shots in the past

  • Individuals who are moderately or severely ill with a fever, should wait to receive their flu shot until after their symptoms lessen

  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder of the nervous system within 6 weeks following a previous dose of TIV is considered to be a precaution for use of TIV

  • Children younger than 6 months of age 

Where to get a flu shot

Flu vaccinations are given by many health care providers, pharmacies and other businesses in the area. It is always a good idea to call ahead of time to check for vaccine availability, especially early in the fall.  If you plan to receive a flu shot from your primary health care provider, it's also a good idea to call them ahead of time to ensure that they have flu shots on hand for your appointment.

During the 2022-2023 flu season MHD is offering free flu vaccines for individuals 6 months of age and older. No appointment is necessary. Flu shots are available at our COVID-19 vaccine sites. 

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