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Inactivated Influenza Vaccine: What You Need to Know

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Mild problems:

  • soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • fever
  • aches

If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.

Severe problems:

  • Life-threatening allergic reactions from vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot.
  • In 1976, a type of influenza (swine flu) vaccine was associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Since then, flu vaccines have not been clearly linked to GBS. However, if there is a risk of GBS from current flu vaccines, it would be no more than 1 or 2 cases per million people vaccinated. This is much lower than the risk of severe influenza, which can be prevented by vaccination.

7. What if there is a severe reaction?

What should I look for?

  • Any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives,paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat, or dizziness.

What should I do?

  • Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.
  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to report the reaction by filing a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form. Or you can file this report through the VAERS web site at www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS does not provide medical advice.

8. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

In the event that you or your child has a serious reaction to a vaccine, a federal program has been created to help pay for the care of those who have been harmed.

For details about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, call 1-800-338-2382 or visit their Web site at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation.

9. How can I learn more?

  • Ask your immunization provider.  They can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information. 
  • Call your local or state health department. 
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.):

   -        Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)

  -  Visit CDC’s Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/flu

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WebMD Public Information from the CDC

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