Influenza Vaccine Recommendations and Safety Information

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the flu. The first and most important step is to get a flu shot. The best way to avoid getting flu infection is by getting a vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get the yearly flu vaccine. This is especially important among high-risk groups, including pregnant women, older adults, young children and newborns, and people with long-term illnesses.

Influenza Vaccine Safety Information

Influenza vaccines are continually monitored for safety and efficacy. While influenza vaccines have proven to be very safe, some people should not be vaccinated, or should speak to the doctor before getting vaccination.

People who can't get the flu shot:

  • Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu shot
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients. See Special Considerations Regarding Egg Allergy for more information about egg allergies and flu vaccine.

Note: There are certain flu shots that have different age indications. For example people younger than 65 years of age should not get the high-dose flu shot and people who are younger than 18 years old or older than 64 years old should not get the intradermal flu shot.

People who should talk to their doctor before getting the flu shot:

  • If you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your allergy.
  • If you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralyzing illness, also called GBS). Some people with a history of GBS should not get this vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your GBS history.
  • If you are not feeling well. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

For more information about flu vaccine safety, visit CDC's webpage Influenza Vaccine Safety


Influenza Vaccination for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women, their unborn babies, and newborns have a higher risk of serious illness and complications from the flu. Getting the flu vaccine can protect the pregnant mother and her baby. It can also prevent the spread of the flu from mother to child after delivery. The CDC and the College recommend routine influenza vaccination for all women who are or will be pregnant (in any trimester) during influenza season. Also, if you develop Influenza like illness symptoms while pregnant do not wait to contact your health care provider. You may need to start antiviral treatment (such as Tamiflu) to help prevent more serious illness.

Influenza Vaccination Safety Information for Pregnant Women

The seasonal flu shot has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over many years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. CDC and FDA conduct ongoing monitoring of the safety of seasonal influenza and other vaccines licensed for use in the United States, in cooperation with state and local health departments, health care providers, and other partners. Monitoring the safety of seasonal flu vaccine in pregnant women is part of this effort.

 For more information see: CDC Pregnant Women and Influenza

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Updated 11/20/17

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