Inactivated Influenza Vaccine: What You Need to Know
6. What are the risks from inactivated influenza vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as
severe allergic reactions. The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or
death, is extremely small. Serious problems from influenza vaccine are very
rare. The viruses in inactivated influenza vaccine have been killed, so you
cannot get influenza from the vaccine.
- soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2
- 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
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