Who should get a flu shot?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost everyone age 6 months and up, especially children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system or chronic condition (like COPD, asthma or congestive heart failure).2 In fact, if you have a chronic condition, the flu shot may help you avoid the hospital and reduce the chances of worsening your condition.3
Even healthy people should get the shot
Healthy people can still get sick or carry the flu virus and spread it to others without showing symptoms. No matter how healthy you feel, the shot helps to kick-start your immune system and prepares your body to fight off the flu.
Don’t skip a year
It's important to get a flu shot every year, but it’s especially important to help prevent a spike of flu cases during the COVID-19 health crisis. Flu virus strains change and vaccine protection declines over time, so last year’s vaccine may not protect you from getting sick.4
The sooner the better
Flu vaccines take about 2 weeks to become effective, so it’s important to get your shot before flu season begins.5 The CDC suggests getting your shot in September or October, since flu season typically peaks in February and can last through May.6 Getting safer, sooner is your best chance at keeping the flu away.
The shot can’t give you the flu
However, sometimes people are exposed prior to getting the shot and get sick before it takes effect. That’s why it’s important to get the shot early.
Egg-free flu shots are available
If you’re allergic to eggs, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if the egg-free alternative is right for you.
What if the flu shot doesn’t always work?
The flu shot protects against many of the common seasonal strains. Even if different types of the virus spread, getting a shot can lessen the severity of the illness.
Think you already have the flu?
See your healthcare provider or visit an urgent care clinic right away. They may prescribe an antiviral drug to help reduce the severity and duration of the flu.
Prefer to "mist" your shot?
Ask your doctor about flu vaccination by nasal spray.
Get more flu information
Explore the CDC’s key facts about the flu to learn how an annual flu shot maximizes your protection. View the CDC’s flu facts, opens new window.