About Flu Vaccines

Flu vaccines are updated each year to make sure that they target the currently circulating virus and even when not an exact match, they still provide protection. Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against infection and illness caused by the four flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season. While vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to those used to make flu vaccines.

Key Facts About Flu Vaccination

  • Flu vaccination is often given as a shot in the upper arm.
  • Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need 2 doses during a single flu season.
  • Higher-dose flu vaccines are recommended for adults 65 years and older.
  • The nasal spray vaccine is approved for non-pregnant people 2 through 49 years of age.
  • Flu vaccine does not cause flu.
  • It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine.

Reasons to Get Your Flu Vaccine

  • Can keep you from getting sick with flu. Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year.
  • Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization.
  • Flu vaccination during pregnancy helps protect pregnant people from flu during and after pregnancy and helps protect their infants from flu in their first few months of life.
  • Flu vaccine can be lifesaving in children.
  • 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.
  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with certain chronic health conditions.
    • Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who have had a cardiac event in the past year.
    • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of a flu-related worsening of chronic lung disease (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requiring hospitalization).
    • Among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease, flu vaccination has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations from a worsening of their chronic condition.