• Introduction:

    Vaccination is the Best Way to Protect Yourself

    Getting a flu shot not only helps protect you, it also helps protect others who may be at risk of complications from the flu,” said Public Health’s Medical Director, Becky Thomas, MD. “People with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and the young are particularly at risk of flu complications.”

Influenza (flu) Vaccinations

Vaccination is the Best Way to Protect Yourself

Getting a flu shot not only helps protect you, it also helps protect others who may be at risk of complications from the flu,” said Public Health’s Medical Director, Becky Thomas, MD. “People with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and the young are particularly at risk of flu complications.”

Influenza (flu) Vaccinations

After two years with reduced flu numbers due to COVID precautions, Montgomery County is experiencing very high number of influenza cases and hospitalizations. This year's available flu vaccines appear well matched for the circulating flu strains. Protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated against influenza.

Why should people get vaccinated against flu

Influenza (flu) is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and flu can affect people differently, but during typical flu seasons, millions of people get flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes. Flu can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work, school, or family events, or it can result in more serious illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help reduce the risk of getting flu and any of its potentially serious complications. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits  including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death. While some people who get a flu vaccine may still get sick with influenza, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness.

How do flu vaccines work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against flu illness.

Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. All flu vaccines in the United States are “quadrivalent” vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses.

Flu Vaccine Options

For people younger than 65 years, CDC does not preferentially recommend any licensed, age-appropriate influenza (flu) vaccine over another during the 2022-2023 flu season. Options for this age group include inactivated influenza vaccine [IIV], recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV], or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), with no preference for any flu vaccine over another.

New for this season: For people 65 years and older, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended over standard-dose, unadjuvanted flu vaccines. These are Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccineFlublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine. More information is available at Flu & People 65 Years and Older.

All flu vaccines for the 2022-2023 season are quadrivalent vaccines, designed to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Different vaccines are licensed for use in different age groups, and some vaccines are not recommended for some groups of people.

Available flu vaccines include:

  • Standard-dose flu shots that are manufactured using virus grown in eggs. Several different brands of standard dose flu shots are available, including Afluria Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent, FluLaval Quadrivalent, and Fluzone Quadrivalent. These vaccines are approved for use in children as young as 6 months. Most flu shots are given in the arm (muscle) with a needle. Afluria Quadrivalent can be given either with a needle (for people 6 months and older) or with a jet injector (for people 18 through 64 years only).
  • cell-based flu shot (Flucelvax Quadrivalent) containing virus grown in cell culture, which is approved for people 6 months and older. This vaccine is completely egg-free.
  • recombinant flu shot (Flublok Quadrivalent) which is a completely egg-free flu shot that is made using recombinant technology and is approved for use in people 18 years and older. This shot is made without flu viruses and contains three times the antigen (the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses) than other standard-dose inactivated flu vaccines, to help create a stronger immune response.
  • An egg-based high dose flu shot (Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent), which is approved for use in people 65 years and older. This vaccine contains four times the antigen (the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses) than other standard-dose inactivated flu vaccines, to help create a stronger immune response.
  • An egg-based adjuvanted flu shot (Fluad Quadrivalent), which is approved for people 65 years and older. This vaccine is made with an adjuvant (an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response).
  • An egg-based live attenuated flu nasal spray vaccine (FluMist Quadrivalent) made with attenuated (weakened) live flu viruses, which is approved for use in people 2 years through 49 years. This vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnant people, immunocompromised people, or people with certain medical conditions.

Who Should Be Vaccinated?

Everyone 6 months and older in the United States should get an influenza (flu) vaccine every season with rare exception. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has made this “universal” recommendation since the 2010-2011 flu season.

Vaccination to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. A full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk is available at People at Higher Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?

Different influenza (flu) vaccines are approved for use in people in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any allergies to flu vaccine or its components. More information is available at Who Should and Who Should NOT get a Flu Vaccine.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Flu vaccines are offered in many doctor’s offices and clinics. 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, college health center, and even in some schools and workplaces.

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?

A flu vaccine is needed every year for two reasons. First, a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual flu vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the composition of flu vaccines is reviewed annually, and vaccines are updated to protect against the viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season. 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 best to get vaccinated before influenza viruses start to spread in your community.