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Children's Vaccines Health Center

Inactivated Influenza Vaccine: What You Need to Know

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Health care providers may also recommend a yearly influenza vaccination for:

  • People who provide essential community services.
  • People living in dormitories, correctional facilities, or under other crowded conditions, to prevent outbreaks.
  • People at high risk of influenza complications who travel to the Southern hemisphere between April and September, or to the tropics or in organized tourist groups at any time.

Influenza vaccine is also recommended for anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza or spreading influenza to others.

4. When should I get influenza vaccine?

Plan to get influenza vaccine in October or November if you can. But getting vaccinated in December, or even later, will still be beneficial in most years. You can get the vaccine as soon as it is available, and for as long as illness is occurring in your community. Influenza can occur any time from November through May, but it most often peaks in January or February.

Most people need one dose of influenza vaccine each year. Children younger than 9 years of age getting influenza vaccine for the first time – or who got influenza vaccine for the first time last season but got only one dose – should get 2 doses, at least 4 weeks apart, to be protected.

Influenza vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including pneumococcal vaccine.

5. Some people should talk with a doctor before getting influenza vaccine.

Some people should not get inactivated influenza vaccine or
should wait before getting it.

  • Tell your doctor if you have any severe (life-threatening) allergies. Allergic reactions to influenza vaccine are rare.
    • Influenza vaccine virus is grown in eggs. People with a severe egg allergy should not get the vaccine.
    • A severe allergy to any vaccine component is also a reason to not get the vaccine.
    • If you have had a severe reaction after a previous dose of influenza vaccine, tell your doctor.
    • Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS). You may be able to get the vaccine, but your doctor should help you make the decision.
    • People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine. If you are ill, talk to your doctor or nurse about whether to reschedule the vaccination. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.

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