Each flu season people line up at their doctor’s office, at clinics and even at local drug stores to get their annual Flu Vaccine. And while it has been approved for healthy people older than 6 months, it is also especially important that those at high risk get their Flu Vaccine each year.
Those who are in the high-risk group are people who are either at risk of getting flu related complications or live with someone who is at risk. These include:
Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
People 50 years of age and older
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
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)
While it is extremely important that many people get vaccinated each year, there are some who should not be vaccinated without consulting their physician, these include:
People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
Children younger 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.)
People with a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine and who are not at risk for severe illness from influenza should generally not receive the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as the vaccine becomes available in their community.