What are the benefits of flu vaccination?

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination, and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
    • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.
    • In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.
  • Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions.
  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.
    • Vaccination reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by up to one-halfexternal icon.
    • A 2018 studyexternal icon showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent.
    • Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu. (Mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.)
      • A number of studies have shown that in addition to helping to protect pregnant women, a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from flu infection for several months after birth, when he or she is not old enough to be vaccinated.
  • Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.
    • A 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.
  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
    • A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.
    • A 2018 studyexternal icon showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

*References for the studies listed above can be found at Publications on Influenza Vaccine Benefits. Also, see the A Strong Defense Against Flu Factsheet pdf icon[237 KB, 2 pages] fact sheet.

Digital Resources
Why Get a Flu Vaccine? Fact Sheet

Why Get a Flu Vaccine? Fact Sheet

pdf icon[PDF - 502 KB, 2 Pages, 8.5" x 11"]
Flu Vaccine Protects You and Your Family Infographic

Flu Vaccine Protects You and Your Family Infographic

The Benefits of Flu Vaccination 2015-2016 Infographic

The Benefits of Flu Vaccination 2015-2016 Infographic

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family