Flu shots are vitally important. Early influenza vaccination can reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications. It also can reduce the severity of the illness, even if you still get sick.
The flu vaccination isn’t just about keeping you healthy; it’s also about helping to protect everyone around you who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick from the flu. Influenza can affect people in different ways. Some will have mild illness and recover in less than 2 weeks. Others may experience complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death.
Flu-related complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections. The flu can also make chronic health problems worse.
High-risk populations include adults over age 65, pregnant and postpartum people, African American, Hispanic, and American Indian adults, children under age 2, and people with a weakened immune system.
Flu shots can be life-saving for kids. A 2022 study showed that flu vaccination reduced children’s risk of severe life-threatening influenza by 75%. The flu vaccine helps prevent respiratory symptoms, reducing the number of children missing school and adults missing work. Flu vaccination has also been proven to protect pregnant people and their babies during and after pregnancy.
Despite the many benefits of flu vaccination, only about half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine.
The flu vaccination is recommended annually for everyone six months of age and older, with rare exceptions, because it effectively decreases flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is especially important because it will help protect and preserve the critical resources needed to keep our communities healthy. Our providers are using every opportunity to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible people during this flu season.