Who should get vaccinated this season?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.
Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. Factors that can determine a person's suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person's age, health (current and past) and any relevant allergies.
Flu shots are approved for use in pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. There are flu shots that also are approved for use in people as young as 6 months of age and up.
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.
More information is available at Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza.
Who Should Not Receive a Flu Shot:
- People who cannot get a flu shot
- Children younger than 6 months old
- People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any of its ingredients
Note: There are certain flu shots that have different age indications. For example people younger than 65 years of age should not get the high-dose flu shot and people who are younger than 18 years old or older than 64 years old should not get the intradermal flu shot.
- People who should talk to their doctor before getting the flu shot
- People who have an allergy to eggs or other vaccine ingredients
- People who have ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
- People who are feeling ill
When should I get vaccinated?
CDC recommends that people get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
People who have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs can get recombinant flu vaccine if they are 18 years and older or they should get the regular flu shot (IIV) given by a medical doctor with experience in management of severe allergic conditions. People who have had a mild reaction to egg—that is, one which only involved hives—may get a flu shot with additional safety measures. Recombinant flu vaccines also are an option for people if they are 18 years and older and they do not have any contraindications to that vaccine. Make sure your doctor or health care professional knows about any allergic reactions. Most, but not all, types of flu vaccine contain a small amount of egg.
- Page last reviewed: August 4, 2016
- Page last updated: August 4, 2016
- Content source:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs