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Flu Vaccine

Side Effects

Approximately 5 percent to 10 percent of people who get the flu vaccine will have mild side effects for about a day after vaccination. The most common flu vaccine side effect in children and adults is soreness at the site of the vaccination. Other side effects from the flu vaccine, especially in children who previously have not been exposed to the flu virus, include:
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Sore muscles.
These side effects of the flu vaccine may begin 6 to 12 hours after vaccination and may last for up to 2 days.
Viruses for producing the flu vaccine are grown in chicken eggs and then killed with a chemical so that they can no longer cause an infection. As a result, the flu vaccine may contain some egg protein, which can cause an allergic reaction. If you are allergic to eggs or have ever had a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you consult with your healthcare provider before getting vaccinated.

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?

People who are in any of the following groups or live in a household with someone who is, should get the flu vaccine:
  • You are 50 years of age or older
  • You have chronic diseases of your heart, lungs, or kidneys
  • You have diabetes
  • Your immune system does not function properly
  • You have a severe form of anemia
  • You will be more than 3 months pregnant during the flu season
  • You live in a nursing home or other chronic-care housing facility
  • You are in close contact with children 23 months of age or younger.
The CDC recommends that children 6 months to 23 months of age get the flu vaccine. Children and teenagers (2 to 18 years of age) should get the flu vaccine if they are taking long-term aspirin treatment, as they may be at risk of developing Reye's syndrome following a flu infection. Children should also get the flu vaccine if they live in a household with someone in the above-mentioned groups. Healthcare providers and volunteers should get the flu vaccine if they work with people in any of these groups.
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