Are allergic reactions common with the flu shot?
Severe allergic reactions to flu vaccines are rare. We used to say that if you had an egg allergy you can’t get the flu vaccine. But that’s not true anymore. Most people with an egg allergy can get the regular flu vaccine, so ask your healthcare provider. If you have a severe egg allergy, make sure you get the flu shot in a medical setting where a healthcare provider can recognize and manage allergic reactions. Also, while the flu vaccine typically uses egg-based technology, manufacturers now make a vaccine that’s not made with egg.
Can you still get the flu even if you get vaccinated?
The flu vaccine in general is about 40% to 60% percent effective, depending on the year, for a number of reasons. It could be because the flu strains in the vaccine weren’t a good match to that season’s flu virus, or because the flu changed during the season. It could be because some people may have been exposed before they got vaccinated. Or they could have been exposed within that two-week period after they got vaccinated but before the vaccine became effective.
However, even when effectiveness may be, for example, 40%, that’s still much more effective than not getting vaccinated at all. There’s also some research that it can make symptoms less severe if someone does still get the flu after being vaccinated.
In addition to the vaccine, what else should people do to prevent the flu?
While getting a flu shot is the single best way to prevent the flu, we’re now all familiar with other everyday precautions that help prevent the spread of viruses: masking, hand hygiene and social distancing. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home if you’re not feeling well, and clean and disinfect surfaces in your home that are frequently touched. In general, it is important to get enough sleep, drink enough fluids, eat well, exercise, and manage your stress.
Is the vaccine dangerous for children or pregnant women?
Since children and pregnant women are at very high risk of complications from the flu, it’s actually quite the opposite — they need to make sure that they get vaccinated. Babies 6 months and older should get the flu shot. Babies under 6 months have some protection if their mom got vaccinated while pregnant, which is another reason it’s really important for pregnant women to get the flu shot. It is also important to “cocoon” babies by vaccinating people who will be around them and could potentially pass on the flu to them.
Do children need multiple flu shots to be fully protected?
Kids who are 6 months through 8 years old may need two shots in a season, depending on how many shots they’ve gotten before. A child in this age group getting vaccinated for the first time, or who has received only one flu vaccine in his or her lifetime, will need two shots, generally one month apart, to be protected for that flu season. It is really important that families come back and get that second dose. We know that nationally only about half of kids who need that second dose actually come back and get it. That’s a problem, because kids really aren’t protected unless they get those two doses if they’re in that age category and they haven’t had enough previous vaccinations. And for children who are also eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, (those ages 5 and older), we recommend they get both vaccines so that they can be protected from both flu and COVID-19.