On February 24, 2010, vaccine experts voted that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season. CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for "universal" flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
1. Pregnant women
2. Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
3. People 50 years of age and older
4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Health care workers
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician. These include:
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination
- People who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
- Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group), and
- People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated)
The "flu shot" - an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine (FluMist) - a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for "live attenuated influenza vaccine" or FluMist.) LAIV (FluMist) is approved for use in healthy people 2-50 years of age who are not pregnant.
Again, at this time, we only have FluMist available. We will keep you updated when we get the rest of our flu vaccine in!
*Information provide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine"