Intradermal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination

Intradermal flu vaccines are not available for the 2018-2019 flu season. More information on updates for the 2018-2019 season are available on CDC’s Current Season What You Need to Know page.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Fluzone Intradermal pdf icon[296 Kb, 24 pages]external icon, a trivalent (three-component) inactivated vaccine for use in people 18 years to 64 years for use during the 2012-2013 season. A quadrivalent (four component) formulation of Fluzone Intradermal was subsequently approved in 2014. All Fluzone Intradermal vaccine is now quadrivalent.

This document provides information on the Intradermal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination. Visit Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine for more information about seasonal flu vaccines.

What is the intradermal flu vaccine?

The intradermal flu vaccine is a shot that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle. The intradermal shot uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot, and it requires less antigen to be as effective as the regular flu shot. Antigen is the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses.

How is the intradermal vaccine similar to the other licensed flu vaccines?

The intradermal flu vaccine has a similar safety profile to the regular Fluzone flu shot. Like all quadrivalent flu vaccines, the intradermal vaccine is made to protect against four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common for the season. The intradermal flu vaccine works in the body in the same way as a regular flu shot.

What else is important to know about the intradermal vaccine?

The intradermal flu vaccine uses a very fine needle that is 90% smaller than the needles used for regular flu shots. This may be helpful for people who don’t like needles. Another feature of the intradermal vaccine is that it requires 40% less antigen than the regular flu shot. This is useful because the same amount of available antigen can be used to make more doses of the vaccine.

Who can receive the intradermal flu vaccine?

Fluzone Intradermal® is approved for use in adults aged 18 through 64 years of age.

How is the intradermal vaccine supplied?

The intradermal vaccine is supplied in a single-dose, preservative-free (without thimerosal), prefilled syringe.

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Does the intradermal flu vaccine provide the same protection as the regular flu vaccine?

Yes. In adults 18-64 years of age, the intradermal vaccine has been shown to provide an immune response similar to the regular flu shot that is given in the muscle.

Are there risks from getting an intradermal flu vaccine?

The risk of intradermal flu vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Each year millions of people are vaccinated against the flu and serious side effects are extremely rare. However, vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.

Intradermal flu vaccine cannot cause the flu because the viruses used to make it are inactivated (killed).

What are the side effects that could occur?

In studies, common reactions to the intradermal flu shot included redness, swelling, toughness, pain, and itching at the injection site. With the exception of pain, these side effects were more common with the intradermal shot than they are with regular flu shots. Other side effects included headache, muscle ache, and tiredness. These symptoms usually go away within 3 to 7 days.

Can severe problems occur?

While severe reactions are uncommon, you should let your doctor, nurse, clinic, or pharmacist know if you have a history of allergy or severe reaction to flu vaccine or any part of flu vaccine, including eggs, or if you have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

For more information about the intradermal vaccine, see Sanofi Pasteur’s Fluzone Intradermal press releaseexternal icon.

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