Vaccinations

Flu Vaccine

Who should get a flu vaccine this season?

 

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of serious complications from influenza.

Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

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 old and flu shots approved for use in adults 65 years and older.

  • Flu shots also are recommended for pregnant people and people with certain chronic health conditions.

  • The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in non-pregnant people who are 2 years through 49 years of age. People who are pregnant and people with certain medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine.

 

There are many vaccine options to choose from.  CDC does not recommend any one flu vaccine over another. The most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year.

Who is at risk of getting serious complications from flu?

  • Adults 65 years and older

  • Children younger than 2 years old

  • Asthma

  • Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions

  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)

  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)

  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)

  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)

  • Kidney diseases

  • Liver disorders

  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)

  • People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher

  • People younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.

  • People with a weakened immune system due to disease (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or some cancers such as leukemia) or medications (such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, or persons with chronic conditions requiring chronic corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system)

  • People who have had a stroke

 

Other people at higher risk from flu:

  • Pregnant people and people up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy

  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

  • People from certain racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk for hospitalization with flu, including non-Hispanic Black persons, Hispanic or Latino persons, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons

  • 1 Although all children younger than 5 years old are considered at higher risk of serious flu complications, the highest risk is for those younger than 2 years old, with the highest hospitalization and death rates among infants younger than 6 months old.

Who should not receive a flu shot?

Most people should be vaccinated for influenza each year, But some people should not be vaccinated, or should not receive some types of influenza vaccines, depending upon things such as their age, health (current and past) and whether they have certain allergies.

People who SHOULD NOT get a flu shot include:

  • Children younger than 6 months of age are too young to get a flu shot.

  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in a flu vaccine (other than egg proteins) should not get that vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients. 

  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine should not get that flu vaccine again and might not be able to receive other influenza vaccines. If you have had a severe allergic reaction to an influenza vaccine in the past, it is important to talk with your health care provider to help determine whether vaccination is appropriate for you.

 

People who should talk to their health care provider before getting a flu shot:

If you have one of the following conditions, talk with your health care provider.  He or she can help decide whether vaccination is right for you, and select the best vaccine for your situation:

  • 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 a flu vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your GBS history.

  • If you had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of any other flu vaccine, talk to your health care provider.

  • If you are not feeling well, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

What if I have an egg allergy?

People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine (IIV4, RIV4, or LAIV4) that is otherwise appropriate. People who have a history of severe egg allergy (those who have had any symptom other than hives after exposure to egg) should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. Two completely egg-free (ovalbumin-free) flu vaccine options are available: quadrivalent recombinant vaccine and quadrivalent cell-based vaccine.

When should I get vaccinated against flu?

 

It’s best to be vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community. September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated against flu. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October. However, even if you are not able to get vaccinated until November or later, vaccination is still recommended because flu most commonly peaks in February and significant activity can continue into May.

Additional considerations concerning the timing of vaccination for certain groups include:

  • Adults, especially those 65 years and older, should generally not get vaccinated early (in July or August) because protection may decrease over time, but early vaccination can be considered for any person who is unable to return at a later time to be vaccinated.

  • Children can get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available, even if this is in July or August. Some children need two doses of flu vaccine. For those children it is recommended to get the first dose as soon as vaccine is available, because the second dose needs to be given at least 4 weeks after the first.

  • Early vaccination can also be considered for people who are in the third trimester of pregnancy, because this can help protect their infants during the first months of life (when they are too young to be vaccinated).

When can I get a flu vaccine?

 

Flu vaccines are offered at doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools.

Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else, like a health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or workplace.

Visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to locate where you can get a flu vaccine.

 

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?

 

A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated as needed to keep up with changing flu viruses. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.

Does flu vaccine work right away?

 

No. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. That’s why it’s better to get vaccinated by the end of October, before the flu season really gets under way.

 

What are the benefits of flu vaccination?

 

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination, and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.

    • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.

    • In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 30 percent to 60 percent.

  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.

    • Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations.

    • A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.

    • In recent years, flu vaccines have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among adults on average by about 40%.

    • A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82 percent.

  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.

    • Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.

    • Flu vaccination also has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.

  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.

    • Vaccination reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by up to one-half.

    • Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu. (Mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.)

      • A number of studies have shown that in addition to helping to protect pregnant women, a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from flu infection for several months after birth, when he or she is not old enough to be vaccinated.

  • Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.

    • A 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.

  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

    • A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.

    • A 2018 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.

  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

 

 

Pneumococcal Vaccines

Why are pneumococcal vaccines important?

Pneumococcal disease, which is caused by infection with a common bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae, is common in young children, but older adults are at greatest risk of serious illness and death. In the United States, there are 2 kinds of vaccines that help prevent pneumococcal disease

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, and PCV20) protects against 13, 15, and 20, respectively, of the approximately 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria that can cause the most serious types of pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia.

  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against 13 of the approximately 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria that can cause the most serious types of pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia.

 

How common is pneumococcal disease?

 

Each year in the United States, pneumococcal disease kills thousands of adults, including 18,000 adults 65 years or older. Thousands more end up in the hospital because of pneumococcal disease.

How does pneumococcal disease spread?

 

Pneumococcal bacteria can spread from person to person by direct contact with respiratory secretions, like saliva or mucus. People can carry the bacteria in their nose and throat, and can spread the bacteria without feeling sick.

Who is at risk for pneumococcal disease?

  • People 65 years and older

  • People with certain health conditions, such as chronic lung

    disease or diabetes

  • People with conditions that lower the body’s resistance to infection (weakened immune system)

  • People who smoke cigarettes

 

What could happen if I get this disease?

Pneumococcal disease ranges from mild to very dangerous. Pneumococcal disease can spread from the nose and throat to ears or sinuses, causing generally mild infections, or spread to other parts of the body, leading to severe health problems such as lung infections (pneumonia), blood infections (bacteremia), and infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

These serious illnesses can lead to disabilities like deafness, brain damage, or loss of arms or legs. These illnesses can also be
life threatening:

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia kills about 1 out of 20 people who get it.

  • Pneumococcal bacteremia kills about 1 out of 6 people who get it.

  • Pneumococcal meningitis kills about 1 out of 6 people who get it.

    Adults with chroni conditions are at increased risk of developing complications from pneumococcal disease.

Who should get these vaccines?  

 

CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Below is more information about who should and should not get each type of pneumococcal vaccine.

PCVs

CDC recommends PCV13 for

  • All children younger than 2 years old

  • Children 2 through 18 years old with certain medical conditions

 

For those who have never received any pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, CDC recommends PCV15 or PCV20 for

  • Adults 65 years or older

  • Adults 19 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions or other risk factors

 

PPSV23

CDC recommends PPSV23 for

  • Children 2 through 18 years old with certain medical conditions

  • Adults 19 years or older who receive PCV15

 

Who might not be able to get these vaccines?

 

Because of age or health conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them. Read the guidelines below specific to pneumococcal vaccines and ask your or your child’s doctor for more information.

  • Children younger than 2 years old should not get PPSV23.

  • Anyone younger than 19 years old should not get PCV15 or PCV20.

 

In addition, tell the person who is giving you or your child a pneumococcal vaccine if:

You or your child have had an allergic reaction to an earlier pneumococcal shot or have any severe, life-threatening allergies.

  • Do not get a PCV shot if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction after

    • Any type of PCV (PCV13, PCV15, PCV20, or an earlier vaccine known as PCV7)

    • Any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid (for example, DTaP)

  • Do not get a PPSV23 shot if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to that vaccine.

  • Anyone with a severe, life-threatening allergy to any part of these vaccines should not get that vaccine. Your or your child’s doctor can tell you about the vaccines’ ingredients.

 

You or your child are not feeling well.

  • People who have a mild illness, such as a cold, can probably get vaccinated. People who have a more serious illness should probably wait until they recover. Your or your child’s doctor can advise you.

What types of pneumococcal vaccines are there?

There are 4 pneumococcal vaccines licensed for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration:

  • PCV13 (Prevnar 13®)

  • PCV15 (Vaxneuvance®)

  • PCV20 (Prevnar 20®)

  • PPSV23 (Pneumovax23®)

 

How well do these vaccines work?

 

PCV15 and PCV20 are new vaccines, so there are no data on how well these vaccines work in real-world conditions. However, these vaccines were approved because clinical trial data indicate they cause an immune response similar to PCV13, which has been shown to protect against serious pneumococcal infections.

Studies* show that getting at least 1 shot of PCV13 protects:

  • At least 8 in 10 babies from serious infections called invasive pneumococcal disease

  • 3 in 4 adults 65 years or older against invasive pneumococcal disease

  • 9 in 20 adults 65 years or older against pneumococcal pneumonia

 

Studies* show that getting 1 shot of PPSV23 protects:

  • Between 6 to 7 in 10 healthy adults against invasive pneumococcal disease

 

* Studies looked at protection against pneumococcal infections caused by the serotypes covered by the specific vaccine used

Some pneumococcal infections are “invasive.” Invasive disease means that germs invade parts of the body, such as blood, that are normally free from germs. Invasive disease is usually very serious and can sometimes result in death.

Vaccines that help protect against pneumococcal disease work well but cannot prevent all cases.

How safe are these vaccines?

 

Pneumococcal vaccines are very safe. They went through years of testing before being licensed by the FDA and continue to be monitored for safety by the FDA and CDC.

Is it safe to get if I have certain health conditions or am taking prescription meds?

 

Unless you have had an allergic reaction in the past to the vaccine or have allergies to certain components of the vaccine, it is safe to get. It is safe for people taking prescription medications to get vaccines.

What are the potential side effects of these vaccines?

 

Most people who get a pneumococcal vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days, but serious reactions are possible.

Mild Problems

 

PCVs

Mild problems following PCV13, PCV15, or PCV20 can include:

  • Reactions where the shot was given

    • Redness

    • Swelling

    • Pain or tenderness

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fussiness (irritability)

  • Feeling tired

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches or joint pain

  • Chills

 

Young children who get PCV13 at the same time as inactivated flu vaccine may be at increased risk for seizures caused by fever. Ask your doctor for more information.

PPSV23

Mild problems following PPSV23 can include:

  • Reactions where the shot was given

    • Redness

    • Pain

  • Feeling tired

  • Fever

  • Muscle aches​

 

If these problems occur, they usually go away within about 2 days.

Problems that Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine

  • People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you or your child:

    • Feel dizzy

    • Have vision changes

    • Have ringing in the ears

  • As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.

PCV13: Adults receiving the vaccine have reported redness, pain, and swelling where the shot was given. Mild fever, fatigue, headache, chills, or muscle pain have also been reported. Life-threatening allergic reactions from this vaccine are very rare.

 

PPSV23: About half of people who get PPSV23 have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot is given. Less than 1% develop a fever, muscle aches, or more severe local reactions. The risk of a vaccine causing serious reaction, or death, is extremely small.

Where can I find these vaccines?

Your doctor’s office is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.

Finding vaccines for children

PCV13 is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Therefore, it is regularly available for children at:

  • Pediatric and family practice offices

  • Community health clinics

  • Public health departments

Finding vaccines for adults

If your doctor does not have pneumococcal vaccines for adults, ask for a referral.

Pneumococcal vaccines may also be available for adults at:

  • Pharmacies

  • Workplaces

  • Community health clinics

  • Health departments

  • Other community locations, such as schools and religious centers

 

You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get pneumococcal vaccines in your community.

How do I pay for these vaccines?

People can pay for pneumococcal vaccines in several ways:

Medicare

Medicare Part B covers 100% of the cost for two different pneumococcal vaccines (when administered at least 12 months apart).

 

Private Health Insurance

Most private health insurance plans cover pneumococcal vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details on whether there is any cost to you. Ask your insurance provider and for a list of in-network vaccine providers.

 

Vaccines for Children Program

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. A child is eligible if they are younger than 19 years old and meets one of the following requirements:

  • Medicaid-eligible

  • Uninsured

  • American Indian or Alaska Native

  • Underinsured (have health insurance that does not cover vaccines or does not cover certain vaccines)

If your child is VFC-eligible, ask if your doctor is a VFC provider. For help in finding a VFC provider near you, contact your state or local health department’s VFC Program Coordinator or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).

COVID-19 Vaccines

What You Need to Know

  • CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 years and older get their primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, and everyone ages 12 years and older also receive a booster. Some people can receive two boosters.

  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have specific COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, including recommendations for a booster. 

  • The following COVID-19 vaccine and booster recommendations may be updated as CDC continues to follow data related to vaccine effectiveness and safety, waning immunity, and protection against variants.

 

About COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying—especially people who are boosted. As with other diseases, you are protected best from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with recommended vaccines.

Three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved for use in the United States to prevent COVID-19. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna are COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and are preferred. You may get Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations.

When Are You Up to Date? 

(Updated as of May 23, 2022)

You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and one booster when eligible, as shown below.

  • Getting a second booster is not necessary to be considered up to date at this time.

  • The recommendations will be different depending on your age, your health status, what vaccine you first received, and when you first got vaccinated.

Adult ages 18 or older:

Pfizer-BioNTech

Primary Series:
2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech given 3–8 weeks apart

Fully Vaccinated: 2 weeks after final dose in primary series

Boosters:

  • 1 booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is recommended at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series

  • Adults ages 50 years and older can choose to receive a 2nd booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after the 1st booster

 

Up to Date: Immediately after getting 1st booster

Moderna

Primary Series:
2 doses of Moderna given 4–8 weeks apart

Fully Vaccinated: 2 weeks after final dose in primary series

Boosters:

  • 1 booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is recommended at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series

  • Adults ages 50 years and older can choose to receive a 2nd booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after the 1st booster

Up to Date: Immediately after getting 1st booster

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen

Primary Series:
1 dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen

Fully Vaccinated: 2 weeks after vaccination

Boosters:

  • 1 booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is recommended at least 2 months after a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine

  • Anyone who received a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for both their primary dose and booster may receive a 2nd booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after their 1st booster

  • Adults ages 50 years and older can choose to receive a 2nd booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after the 1st booster

Up to Date: Immediately after getting 1st booster

Children and teens ages 12-17 years:

 

Pfizer-BioNTech

Primary Series:
2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech given 3–8 weeks apart 

Fully Vaccinated: 2 weeks after final dose in primary series

Boosters:
1 booster of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is recommended at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series

Up to Date: Immediately after getting 1st booster 

Children ages 5-11 years:

Pfizer-BioNTech

Primary Series:
2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech given 3 weeks apart

Fully Vaccinated AND Up to Date: 2 weeks after final dose in primary series since a booster is NOT recommended for this age group at this time

Mixing COVID-19 Vaccine Products

CDC does not recommend mixing products for your primary vaccine series.

If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get the same product for your second shot in the primary series. People eligible for a booster who are ages 18 years and older may get a different product for their booster. People eligible for a booster who are ages 12 through 17 years must get the same product (Pfizer-BioNTech) for their booster.

Timing of COVID-19 Vaccination After Infection

People who have COVID-19 should wait to receive any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine, until after they recover and complete their isolation period.

Additionally, people who recently had COVID-19 may consider delaying their next booster by 3 months from when their symptoms started or, if they had no symptoms, when they first received a positive test. Reinfection is less likely in the weeks to months after infection. However, certain factors, such as personal risk of severe disease, local COVID-19 community level, and the dominant COVID-19 variant, could be reasons to get a vaccine sooner rather than later.

Allergic Reaction to a COVID-19 Vaccine Product

If you had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or if you have a known (diagnosed) allergy to a COVID-19 vaccine ingredient, you should not get that vaccine. If you have been instructed not to get one type of COVID-19 vaccine, you may still be able to get another type.

Scheduling Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster: Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

 
 
 

Content provided the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).