Frequently Asked Questions
The flu is a contagious disease that affects the lungs and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. While pregnant women, young children, older people, and people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications, even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized.
Does the flu vaccine make you sick?
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The most common side effects from a flu shot are a sore arm and maybe a low fever or achiness.
If I am healthy, why do I need the flu shot?
Anyone can become sick with the flu and experience serious complications. Older people, young children, pregnant women and people with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease are at especially high risk from the flu, but kids, teens and adults who are active and healthy also can get the flu and become very ill from it. Flu viruses are unpredictable, and every season puts you at risk. Besides, you might be around someone who's at high risk from the flu: a baby, your grandparents, or even a friend.
Should I wait until family and friends get the flu before I get a shot?
If you wait until people around you get sick from flu, it will probably be too late to protect yourself. It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to provide full protection, so the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely it is that you will be fully protected once the flu begins to circulate in your community.
If I got a flu vaccine last year, why do I need another one?
Your body's level of immunity from a vaccine received last season is expected to have declined. You may not have enough immunity to be protected from getting sick this season. You should get vaccinated again to protect yourself against the three viruses that research suggests are likely to circulate again this season.