Those in the know are telling us getting a flu shot is more important than ever right now not only to protect yourself and the people around you from flu but to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The flu vaccine protects against the three or four influenza viruses that research suggests may be most common during this Winter season.

CDC recommends use of any of the licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccines during the 2020-2021 influenza season, including inactivated influenza vaccine [IIV], recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV], or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). No preference is expressed for any influenza vaccine over another. Both trivalent (three-ingredient) and quadrivalent (four-ingredient) influenza vaccines will be available.

trivalent flu shot made using an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response is approved and recommended for people 65 years of age and older.

Different influenza shots are licensed for different age groups. There are many flu vaccine options to choose from, but it is recommended for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year.

If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, have a conversation with your primary care physician or other health care professional.

Click here for information on who should and who should not get a flu vaccine.

The protection provided by a flu vaccine varies and depends in part on the age and health of the person getting the vaccine and the “match” between the viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation.

Side effects from a flu shot can vary and may include soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given, headache (low grade), fever, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Life-threatening allergic reactions to flu shots are very rare. Signs of serious allergic reaction can include breathing problems, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness.

There is a small possibility that flu vaccine could be associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome, but the risk is much lower than that of severe complications from flu, which can be prevented by flu vaccine.

I got the flu shot two weeks ago.  It is something that I do every year and other than my arm being a bit sore and red at the injection site I had no adverse reaction.

(CDC)