Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Public Health

Menu
Menu

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
EBenefits Badge
 

Vaccination

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.

2019-20 Flu Vaccine Composition

A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus

Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain: the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.

Flu Vaccine for VHA Facilities 2019-20

The following vaccines are available for use within VHA facilities. Consult the official package inserts for more detailed information related to each vaccine.

Fluarix (made by GlaxoSmithKline)

FluLaval (made by GlaxoSmithKline)

Fluad (made by Seqirus)

  • packaged in prefilled syringes
  • only for those age 65 and older
  • trivalent (protects against three types of flu
  • adjuvanted (additives to increase protection)
  • standard dose formulation
  • package insert: https://www.fda.gov/media/94583/download

Vaccine Delivery
VHA facilities are scheduled to received 50% of their flu vaccine between August 15 and Sept. 15, with the remaining 50% arriving between Sept. 16 and Oct. 15, 2019.

Who should get a flu shot?

Female nurse giving someone a flu shot

Everyone age 6 months and older who wants to reduce the risk of getting sick should get a flu shot (PDF, 224KB).

Those more at risk of illness and complications from the flu include:

  • People age 65 and older
  • People with health problems such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease and other chronic illnesses or conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • Caregivers of infants or family members with health problems
  • Health Care Personnel (HCP)

Why do I need a flu shot every year?

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.

Where can I get a flu shot?

Veterans enrolled in VA health care can get a flu shot at their nearest VA health care facility. If you are not enrolled in VA health care, find out if you qualify.

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.

Can my family get flu shots from VA?

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.

When is the best time to get a flu shot?

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.

How long does it take before I am protected?

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.

Can I get the flu from a flu shot?

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:

  • You were exposed to the flu virus before the flu shot took effect.
  • You have a weak immune system or other illness that causes your body to take longer to make antibodies and build immunity.
  • Your body fails to make antibodies after getting a flu shot.
  • The flu shot vaccine does not match all the flu viruses that are currently spreading.

What flu vaccines have been approved in the U.S.?

There are a number of flu vaccines approved for use in the United States.  For more information, visit CDC's Vaccine Information Statements (VISs)

Is the flu shot safe?

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 Health and Medicine Division (formally known as the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reviewed more than 1,000 research articles and concluded that few health problems are associated with vaccines. Learn more about these findings.

What else can I do to slow the spread of flu?

Take these simple precautions:

  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Clean hands often.
  • Keep hands away from your face.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Download free viewer and reader software to view PDF, video and other file formats.

 

Infection: Don’t Pass It On
Flu.gov – Know what to do about the flu

Contact

Health Care
877-222-8387

TDD (Hearing Impaired)
800-829-4833