Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination
Note: For the 2016-2017 season, CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017. The 2016-2017 influenza vaccination recommendations are now available.
There is a vaccine that can prevent flu. While how well the vaccine works can vary, the benefits from vaccination are well documented. Studies show that flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
This is why CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
Some people are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. This includes young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease. For those at high risk for complications, getting the flu vaccine is especially important. It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone at high risk, including babies younger than 6 months because they are too young to get the vaccine.
The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
The trivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus. The following trivalent flu vaccines are available:
- Standard dose trivalent shots that are manufactured using virus grown in eggs. These are approved for people ages 6 months and older. There are different brands of this type of vaccine, and each is approved for different ages. However, there is a brand that is approved for children as young as 6 months old and up.
A standard dose trivalent shot containing virus grown in cell culture, which is approved for people 18 and older.
Cell-based Flu Vaccines: Questions and Answers
- A standard dose trivalent shot that is egg-free, approved for people 18 through 49 years of age.
Flublok Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination: Questions and Answers
- A high-dose trivalent shot, approved for people 65 and older.
Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine: Questions and Answers
- A standard dose intradermal trivalent shot, which is injected into the skin instead of the muscle and uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot, approved for people 18 through 64 years of age.
The quadrivalent flu vaccine will protect against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. The following quadrivalent flu vaccines will be available:
- A standard dose quadrivalent shot
Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine Fact Sheet
- A standard dose quadrivalent flu vaccine, given as a nasal spray, approved for healthy* people 2 through 49 years of age
Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine [LAIV] (The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine): Questions and Answers
(*"Healthy" indicates persons who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.)
CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over the other. The important thing is to get a flu vaccine every year.
- Page last reviewed: September 25, 2013
- Page last updated: October 5, 2016
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