Vaccination is the surest way to protect against getting the flu. Get your flu shot every year to protect yourself and help keep the flu from spreading to others.
Everyone age 6 months and older who wants to reduce the risk of getting sick should get a flu shot.
Those more at risk of illness and complications from the flu include:
Flu viruses can change over time, so every year the flu shot vaccine is updated to protect against the flu viruses most likely to spread that year.
The viruses may change after the flu shot is made. Even if this happens, you will still get some protection from the flu shot.
More convenient to go to a local Walgreens? Veterans enrolled in VA health care can get a flu shot at Walgreens, and the information will be automatically added to their VA health record. Learn more about VA's partnership with Walgreens.
VA doesn't vaccinate family members of Veterans or VA staff. If they would like to get a flu shot, check the flu shot locator on Flu.gov.
Get a flu shot in the fall as soon as it's available, so you are protected the entire flu season. You will need to get a new flu shot every year to protect yourself from the flu viruses circulating that season.
Contact your nearest VA health care facility to check vaccine availability.
After you get a flu shot, it takes about 2 weeks for your body to make enough antibodies to protect you against flu.
Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system that identify and help remove foreign targets such as viruses and bacteria. The flu shot helps your body build these antibodies to fight flu viruses and prevent you from getting sick.
This is a common misconception. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot because only inactive (dead) flu virus is used to make the flu shot vaccine.
If you get the flu soon after getting a flu shot this could mean:
The flu vaccine can be tolerated by people with egg allergies that are not severe. Check with your health care provider if you have a severe egg allergy. Some flu vaccine contains egg protein.
Yes, the flu shot is both safe and effective. Most people have no serious side effects or allergic reaction to it.
Some people may have redness or swelling on their arm where the shot was given. A very small number of people may get minor body aches, a headache, or a low fever that lasts a day or two.
The Institute of Medicine reviewed more than 1,000 research articles and concluded that few health problems are associated with vaccines. Learn more about these findings.
Take these simple precautions:
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