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Flu Shot Facts
• A flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot. These could include soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever (low grade) and site area or body aches.
• Yearly flu vaccination is the best tool currently available to protect against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu and its potentially serious complications.
• Millions of people have safely received flu vaccines for decades. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
• A flu vaccination does not guarantee protection against the flu. Some people who get vaccinated might still get sick. However, people who get a flu vaccine are less likely to get sick with flu or hospitalized from flu than someone who does not get vaccinated.
• Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick.
• Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions.
• A flu vaccine is needed every year for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses. For the best protection, everyone six months and older should get vaccinated annually.
• It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. That’s why it’s better to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season.
• Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, health departments, pharmacies, urgent care clinics, schools and workplaces.
For more information, visit PalmettoHealthChildrens.org/Flu.