Flu vaccination is a method of preventing a specific type of infection (common
flu) caused by the influenza virus. The vaccine is injected into the body to
stimulate the normal immune system to produce antibodies that are directed
against the influenza virus.
This method of stimulating the normal immune system to be directed against a
specific microbe is called immunization. Flu vaccination is also referred to as
Flu vaccination does not protect against infection caused by microbes other
than the influenza virus.
receive the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is generally recommended for persons in the following groups:
Annual influenza immunization is recommended for healthy children between 6 and
24 months of age, for household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of all
children younger than 24 months of age, and for health care professionals. (The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of
Pediatrics made this recommendation in 2003 and 2004, respectively.)
Adults 65 years of age and older.
Residents of nursing homes or other facilities for patients with chronic
Women who will be in their 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy during the flu
Persons 6 months to 18 years of age receiving long-term aspirin therapy.
Groups, including household members and care givers, who can infect high risk
Depending on season and destination, persons traveling to foreign countries
should consider vaccination (at least 2 weeks in advance).
Any person > 6 months of age who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming
ill with influenza should be vaccinated.
How is the flu
The flu vaccine is administered as a single dose of 0.5 mL of liquid injected
through the skin into muscle (intramuscular or IM). Typically the injection is
into the deltoid muscle at the side of the arm, using alcohol rubbed over the
skin for sterilization. The vaccine is given annually, each fall.
soon does the vaccine begin working?
The vaccine is generally effective against the influenza virus within two weeks
of the injection. The vaccine is only effective against the strains of the
virus that match the vaccine. These strains vary from flu season to flu season
each year. This is the reason that revaccination is required annually with the
vaccine that matches the strains of
influenza that are currently prevalent.
side effects can occur with flu vaccination?
Side effects of flu vaccination are not common. Side effects
include soreness at the site of the injection, muscle aching, fever, and
feeling unwell. Very rarely serious allergic reactions have been reported.
not receive the flu vaccine?
Those that should avoid the flu vaccine include:
Subsequent vaccination should be avoided for persons known to have developed
the rare nerve disease Guillain-Barre syndrome within 6 weeks of a previous
vaccination. However, for most persons with a Guillain-Barre syndrome history
who are at high risk for severe complications, many experts believe the
established benefits of vaccination justify yearly vaccination.
Persons with a history of allergy reactions to eggs.
Those with a history of hypersensitivity to the vaccine.
Those with recent fever illness.