Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza
Everyone older than 6 months is recommended for flu vaccination with rare exception. The following lists include all people recommended to get the flu vaccine, those who are not recommended to receive either the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine, and those who should take certain precautions before getting vaccinated. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions regarding which flu vaccine options are best for you and your family.
Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for persons who are at increased risk for severe complications from influenza, or who are at high risk for influenza-related outpatient, emergency department, or hospital visits. When vaccine supply is limited, vaccination efforts should focus on delivering vaccination to the following persons (no hierarchy is implied by order of listing):
- are aged 6 months through 4 years (59 months);
- are aged 50 years and older;
- have chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
- are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus);
- are or will be pregnant during the influenza season;
- are aged 6 months through 18 years and receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who therefore might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection;
- are residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
- are American Indians/Alaska Natives;
- are morbidly obese (body-mass index is 40 or greater);
- are health-care personnel;
- are household contacts and caregivers of children aged younger than 5 years and adults aged 50 years and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged younger than 6 months; and
- are household contacts and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza.
Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy:
- People who have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs, or who have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, may be advised not to get vaccinated. People who have had a mild reaction to egg—that is, one which only involved hives—may receive the flu shot with additional precautions. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about any allergic reactions. Most, but not all, types of flu vaccine contain small amount of egg.
- People who have ever had a severe allergic reaction to influenza vaccine.
- People with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine and who are not at risk for severe illness from influenza should generally not receive vaccine. Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.
- People who are moderately or severely ill with or without fever should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine. If you are ill, talk to your doctor about whether to reschedule the vaccination. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.
- People under 65 years of age should not receive the high-dose flu shot.
- People who are under 18 years old or over 64 years old should not receive the intradermal flu shot.
The following groups should not receive the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV):
- Children younger than 2 years
- Adults 50 years and older
- People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of any influenza vaccine
- People with asthma
- Children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment.
- Children and adults who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic/neuromuscular, hematologic, or metabolic disorders
- Children and adults who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV)
- Pregnant women
Moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever is a general precaution for vaccination. GBS within 6 weeks following a previous dose of influenza vaccine is considered a precaution for use of influenza vaccines.