A seasonal vaccine is distributed routinely every year. 

  • While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common.
  • The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the 2010-2011 season vaccine is available.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Vaccine: Flu Shot or Nasal Spray?

Age and Conditions One dose of Seasonal  Vaccine Two doses of Seasonal Vaccine OK to Get Nasal Spray?
0 – 6 months No No No
6 months – 9 years One dose of seasonal flu vaccine if the child has had seasonal flu vaccination in the past. Two doses of seasonal flu vaccine are needed if this is the first time the child is receiving flu vaccination. No for children younger than two years.
Yes, for children older than two years, unless the child has certain conditions. Check below for conditions information.
10 – 49 years Yes No Can receive nasal spray if healthy and no underlying health conditions
50 years and older Flu Shot Only No No
Pregnant women Flu Shot Only No No
Arthritis Flu Shot Only No No
Asthma Flu Shot Only Two doses of only Flu Shot if 6 months – 9  years (if first time flu vaccination) No
HIV/AIDS Flu Shot Only Two doses of only Flu Shot if 6 months – 9  years (if first time flu vaccination) No
5 years and younger, with a history of recurrent wheezing Flu Shot Only Two doses of only Flu Shot if 6 months – 5 years (if first time flu vaccination) No
Children or adolescents receiving aspirin therapy Flu Shot Only Two doses of only Flu Shot if 6 months – 9  years (if first time flu vaccination) No
People who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine No No No
People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or who are allergic to any of the nasal spray vaccine components. No No No
  • For decades, vaccines have been produced in chicken eggs. This process is time-consuming and for some flu seasons has resulted in flu vaccine shortages early in the flu season.  Cell-based vaccine production takes less time, and has the added benefit of allowing persons who are allergic to eggs to receive the vaccine.  Cell-based vaccine is not expected to become available until 2011.  More information about cell-based vaccine productions.
  • When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as “community immunity.”

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Fluzone High-Dose Vaccine

Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is aflu shot, made up of the 3 flu strains most likely to cause illness for a particular flu season. Fluzone High-Dose vaccines contain 4 times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibody) in the person getting the vaccine.

Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. Also, ageing decreases the body’s ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response and therefore better protection against flu.

Fluzone High-Dose is approved for use in people 65 years of age and older. As with all flu vaccines, Fluzone High-Dose is not recommended for people with a severe allergy to chicken eggs, or people who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.

Questions & Answers: Fluzone High–Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)