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Flu Vaccine

Before the flu season begins, scientists prepare a new flu vaccine made from inactivated (killed) flu viruses, which cannot cause infection. The preparation is based on the flu viruses that are in circulation at the time and on the flu viruses that are expected to circulate the following winter. The vaccine can be obtained at doctors' offices, drugstores, supermarkets, and even some workplaces.

What Is the Flu Vaccine?

The best way to keep from getting the flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine. You can get the flu vaccine at:
 
  • Your doctor's office
  • A local clinic
  • Work (in many communities)
  • Supermarkets
  • Drugstores.
 
It is important to note that you must get the flu vaccine every year because the viruses on which the vaccine is based change every year.
 

How the Vaccine Is Made

Scientists make a different flu vaccine every year because the strains of flu viruses change from year to year. Nine to ten months before the flu season begins, scientists will prepare a new flu vaccine made from inactivated (killed) flu viruses. Because the viruses are killed, they cannot cause infection. The flu vaccine preparation is based on the flu viruses that are in circulation at the time and on the viruses that are expected to circulate the following winter.
 
It is important to note that an unpredicted new strain of the flu virus may appear after the flu vaccine has been made and distributed to doctors' offices and clinics. This means that even if you do get the flu vaccine, you still may get infected. However, if this happens, the disease is usually milder because the flu vaccine will still give you some protection.
 
(Click Flu Virus for more information about flu viruses.)
 
Warning: 10 Hidden Sources of Lactose
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