How does the flu shot work? Influenza vaccines stimulate your body to produce antibodies that help fight against the flu. It usually takes about 2 weeks after vaccination to produce these antibodies. Each year the influenza vaccine targets the viruses that research suggests will be prevalent in the community that season.
Influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older. Annual vaccination is recommended as vaccines are updated to keep up with changing viruses. Last year’s vaccination may not protect you from this season’s viruses. In children who have not been vaccinated previously, 2 doses given at least 4 weeks apart are recommended.
Who should prioritize getting the flu shot?
These groups are at higher risk for complications including hospitalization and death and should get the influenza vaccine:
- Keiki aged 6 months to under 5 years, (especially under 2 years old)
- People 65 years or older
- People with underlying medical disorders including lung conditions (such as asthma, COPD), heart conditions, liver or kidney disease, neurological conditions (such as seizures, cerebral palsy), blood disorders (such as sickle cell anemia), and other underlying medical conditions (ie diabetes)
- People with a compromised immune systems (HIV, cancer, or long term steroid use)
- Pregnant women and up to 2 weeks after delivery (flu shot is recommended during pregnancy and this also helps protect your baby)
- Residents of long term facilities/care homes
- Health care workers
- People younger than 19 years old on long term aspirin
- Caretakers of keiki (especially of infants younger than 6 months old), elderly, or persons with underlying chronic conditions
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives
- Extremely overweight individuals
- Children younger than 6 months are too young to receive the vaccine
- Individuals with severe life threatening allergies to influenza vaccine or its ingredients