Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?

There is no live flu virus in flu shots, so the vaccine cannot and does not cause the flu. Here are a few facts about the flu vaccine:

  • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible.
  • Vaccination of people considered high-risk is incredibly important. That includes young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination is also important for people who live with, or care for, someone who is high risk to keep from spreading the flu to them.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.

Learn more about the seasonal flu vaccine

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1. What are flu signs and symptoms?
2. How long does the flu last?
3. How long should I stay home after the flu?
4. Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?