Flu prevention and vaccine information

What you need to know this flu season to stay healthy and prevent the spread of influenza.

Table of Contents

How can the flu be prevented?

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated for flu. It is especially important that the people in one of the groups listed below get a flu shot every year as they are more likely to get severely ill with flu. 

People 65 years of age or older are recommended to receive the following three preferential flu vaccines: Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. If none of these three preferred vaccines are available, any age-appropriate flu vaccine may be used. More information is available at Flu & People 65 Years and Older

  • Children aged 6 months through 18 years 
  • People 50 years of age and older 
  • Pregnant and postpartum people  
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurologic and neuromuscular conditions and weakened immune systems 
  • People with muscle and nerve disorders that make it difficult to breath or swallow 
  • Children aged 6 months through 18 years on long-term aspirin therapy 
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities 

Anyone who might transmit flu to someone at risk. For example, health care workers, including those in training, emergency response workers, direct care staff, people who live with or care for anyone on the list above, and people who live with or care for infants under 6 months of age, including parents, siblings, and daycare providers. 

Why should I get the flu vaccine?

Burden Estimates 

CDC does not know the exact number of people who have been sick and affected by influenza because influenza is not a reportable disease in most areas of the United States. However, CDC uses a mathematical model to estimate the number of influenza illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths that occur each season (5). Preliminary in-season estimates of influenza burden in the United States for the 2022-23 season are that influenza virus infection resulted in 31 million symptomatic illnesses, 14 million medical visits, 360,000 hospitalizations, and 21,000 deaths.  

Nationally, CDC estimates that during the 2022-2023 flu season, influenza vaccination prevented an estimated  6 million flu-related illnesses, 2.9 million flu-related health-care visits, 65,000 flu-related hospitalizations, and 3,700 flu-related deaths were prevented by flu vaccination. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through the community.  

It is especially important to get the flu vaccine during this upcoming respiratory season when we anticipate COVID-19 and RSV will continue to circulate. While we do not know exactly what the coming influenza season will look like, influenza results in a significant public health burden in the United States every winter. For persons aged ≥6 months, receiving a seasonal influenza vaccine each year remains the best way to protect against seasonal influenza and its potentially severe consequences. 

A recent study estimated that flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-related emergency department and urgent care (ED/UC) visits by almost half and hospitalizations by more than a third among U.S. adults during the 2022-2023 season. 

  • Flu vaccination reduces the prevalence and severity of illness caused by flu, reducing symptoms that might be confused with those of COVID-19 
  • It will reduce the overall burden of respiratory illness that will protect people at higher risk for severe illness of both flu and COVID-19 
  • The reduction of outpatient illnesses, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions from flu vaccination will alleviate stress on the health care system. 

 For additional information, please see the CDC page: This Season a Flu Vaccine is More Important than Ever! 

Should I get my child vaccinated?

Yes, a flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting the flu and spreading it to others. Children younger than 5 years of age — especially those younger than 2 years old — are at high risk of serious flu-related symptoms and complications

Flu vaccination has been found to reduce deaths in children. A study in Pediatrics was the first of its kind to show that influenza vaccination is effective in preventing influenza-associated deaths among children. 

  • A study looking at children and adolescents estimated that influenza (flu) vaccination reduced the risk of flu-related emergency department and urgent care visits and hospitalizations by almost half (40-48%) among children and adolescents during the 2022-2023 season. A 2022 study showed that flu vaccination reduced children’s risk of severe life-threatening influenza by 75%. 

In the 2022-2023 season, among children and adolescents aged <18 years, 2022-23 was a high severity influenza season compared with thresholds based on previous seasons’ data; influenza-associated medical visits and hospitalizations met or exceeded incidence in previous seasons.   

Nationally, a total of 183 pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during the 2022-2023 season. 

Where can I find the flu vaccine?

Find out where you can get a flu vaccine by visiting vaccines.gov/flu or asking your primary care provider or going to a local pharmacy. The flu vaccine helps your body protect against the flu and it is your best protection against the virus. Getting flu vaccine will not give you the flu.  

I still got the flu after the flu vaccine. Why should I get the flu vaccine this year?

Although the flu vaccine won’t prevent every case of the flu, getting an annual vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of serious illness. Getting the flu vaccine may make illness milder.  

A flu shot cannot cause flu illness. If you get flu-like symptoms after receiving the flu vaccine, there may be a few reasons why you have a low grade fever, and headache, including that they may be mild side-effects of the vaccine. If you get diagnosed with the flu shortly after receiving the flu vaccine, you may have been exposed to the flu virus beforehand, as it takes approximately two weeks for the vaccine to work. 

I heard that the flu vaccine was not very effective. Why should I get it if it’s not effective?

While vaccine effectiveness can vary, studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine. It is also the best way to reduce your risk of serious illness. Remember, if you don’t get a vaccine at all, that’s 0% effective. 

What flu vaccine should I get?

Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. There are flu shots approved for use in children as young as 6 months of age and flu shots approved for use in adults 65 years and older. Flu shots also are recommended for use in pregnant people and people with chronic health conditions. The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age. People with some medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine. Your provider will know which flu vaccine is best for you.  

Can I get a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

Yes, you can get a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time if you are eligible and the timing for each vaccine is right.  


Remember, protect yourself, your loved ones, as well as all those around you by getting a flu vaccine! Ask your healthcare provider what flu vaccine is best for you and your family. 

Find out where you can get a flu vaccine by visiting vaccines.gov/flu or asking your primary care provider or going to a local pharmacy. 

To learn more about the flu, visit flu information for general public website or www.cdc.gov/flu

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