People at High Risk For Flu Complications

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exclamation square light iconGetting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk from flu; many of whom are also at high risk for COVID-19 or serious outcomes.

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu.

If you are at high risk of developing serious flu complications, vaccination is especially important. When you get vaccinated, you reduce your risk of getting sick with flu and possibly being hospitalized or dying from flu. This season, getting a flu vaccine has the added benefit of reducing the overall burden on the health care system and saving medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients. September and October are good times to get a flu vaccine.​

Adults 65 Years and Older
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People 65 years and older are at high risk of developing serious complications from flu compared with young, healthy adults.

Adults with Chronic Health Conditions
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Learn more about how to protect yourself from flu.

Information for Specific High Risk Groups

Following is a list of all the health and age factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting serious complications from flu:

  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Children younger than 2 years old1
  • Asthma
  • Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Kidney diseases
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
  • People younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
  • People with a weakened immune system due to disease (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or some cancers such as leukemia) or medications (such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, or persons with chronic conditions requiring chronic corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system)
  • People who have had a stroke

Other people at high risk from the flu:

  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People from certain racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk for hospitalization with flu, including non-Hispanic Black persons, Hispanic or Latino persons, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons
  • 1 Although all children younger than 5 years old are considered at high risk for serious flu complications, the highest risk is for those younger than 2 years old, with the highest hospitalization and death rates among infants younger than 6 months old.

Information on groups at higher risk from COVID-19 is available.

No Time For Flu
Materials for other special groups