What is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu this season. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Who should get vaccinated

The  annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone age 6 months or older. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of influenza complications, including.

  • Young children
  • are 65 years of age or over
  • are pregnant
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
  • have certain medical conditions
    1. Asthma
    2. Cancer or cancer treatment
    3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    4. Cystic fibrosis
    5. Diabetes
    6. HIV/AIDS
    7. Kidney or liver disease
    8. Obesity

Front-line health and social care workers are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine.

Children between 6 months and 8 years may need two doses of the flu vaccine, given at least four weeks apart, to be fully protected. Check with your child’s health care provider.

Are there Side Effects?

There are different side effects that may be associated with getting the vaccine. Possible mild side effects include:

  • Soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site
  • Fainting, mainly in adolescents
  • Aches
  • Fever (low grade)
  • Nausea

Serious side effects usually begin within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the shot. Possible serious side effects of vaccination include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling around the eyes or lips
  • Hives
  • Paleness
  • Weakness
  • Racing heart
  • Dizziness
  • Behavior changes
  • High fever

If you experience any of these reactions, seek medical attention immediately.