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Vaccination FAQ’s
Q: Will the seasonal flu shot protect me from the H1N1 flu virus that caused so much illness during the 2009-2010 flu season?
A: Yes.

The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will provide protection against 3 strains of influenza including H1N1, H3N2 and an influenza B virus.

Q: If I get a seasonal flu shot can I catch the flu?
A: No.

You cannot catch the flu from getting a flu vaccine. The vaccine is made from a killed virus.

Q: Who should get a seasonal flu shot?
A1: Everyone 6 months of age and older.
A2: While it is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu hot, some groups of individuals are at a greater risk of developing serious complications if they catch the flu. Therefore, the following groups are highly encouraged to receive a seasonal flu shot:
  1. Pregnant women
  2. Children younger than 5 years, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  3. People 50 years of age and older
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (e.g. asthma)
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    1. Health care workers
    2. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    3. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Q: Who should not get a seasonal flu shot?
A: The following groups of individuals should seek advice from a medical professional before getting a flu shot:
  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination
  • People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine
  • Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group)
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated)
Q: Are there any side effects from getting a flu shot?
A: Yes.

Most side effects are mild (lasting 1-2 days) and may include:
  • Soreness, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Fever
  • Nausea
Some people may experience side effects that are severe (few minutes to hours after shot is given) and should seek medical attention right away. These side effects include:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives
  • Paleness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling around eyes or lips
  • High Fever
  • Fast heart beat
  • Behavior changes
Q: When should I get the flu shot?
A: Influenza is most common in the U.S. from December to April, so it is best to get the flu shot from September through January. The vaccine begins to protect you after 1 to 2 weeks.

Q: Do I need a flu shot every year?
A: Yes.

Although only a few different influenza viruses circulate at any given time, people continue to become ill with the flu throughout their lives. The reason for this continuing susceptibility is that influenza viruses are continually changing, usually as a result of mutations in the viral genes. Each year the vaccine is updated to include the most current influenza virus strains. The fact that influenza viruses continually change is one of the reasons the vaccine must be taken every year. Another reason is that antibody produced by the person in response to the vaccine declines over time, and antibody levels are often low one year after vaccination.

Q: Where can I get my flu shot?
A: The Cleveland Department of Public Health provides free flu shots to people over the age of 6 months.

CDPH Vaccination Calendar
Q: What is the charge for getting a flu shot?
A: Flu shots are free of charge for City of Cleveland residents.

For more information on seasonal flu vaccinations visit:

Preventing Seasonal Flu With Vaccination (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Vaccination (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Vaccine Safety (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)