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Everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against seasonal influenza. For people in these groups, it is especially important to be vaccinated every year:
Health conditions that increase the risk of influenza complications
Anyone concerned about being ill with influenza and transmitting it to others should get the seasonal influenza vaccine. See your health care provider to determine which vaccine is best for you.
Influenza viruses are always changing. To maintain your protection, you need a different vaccine each year. The vaccine starts to protect you after one to two weeks. Influenza is most common in the United States from December to April. It is best to get vaccinated in the fall, but you can be vaccinated through late spring. Some children less than 9 years old will need two shots (given at least four weeks apart) if they are being vaccinated for the first time.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against several of the most common strains of flu that will appear this fall. Because new influenza viruses appear every year, the effectiveness of the vaccine varies from one year to the next. But even when a vaccine doesn't provide complete protection, people who are vaccinated tend to experience milder illness, and less hospitalization, than others. Also, other viruses might cause symptoms that seem like influenza, and the influenza vaccine does not protect against these infections. All the viruses in the vaccine are killed so you cannot get influenza from the vaccine.
Yes, children can receive all routinely scheduled vaccines along with the flu shot.
Serious problems from the flu vaccine are extremely rare. If a vaccine causes side effects, they usually start soon after the vaccination and usually last one to two days. These may include:
The risk from the vaccine is much smaller than the risk from the disease. However, as with any medicine, there is a very small chance that serious problems, even death, could occur after taking the vaccine.
For additional information or to find out where you can get your flu vaccine, call the toll-free NYC Department of Health's Flu Vaccination Information Line at 311.