Who's Eligible for a Flu Shot?

Short answer: Everyone older than 6 months.

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An age-old debate persists every year during flu season: “Are you gonna get your flu vaccine?” As society learns more about how vaccines work to decrease a virus’s severity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that everyone who is eligible should get the flu shot. This can help keep the population as healthy as possible and reduce the burden on hospitals.

Who's Eligible For The Flu Shot?

The requirements for flu shot eligibility make a pretty short list (covering a whole lot of people). Anyone six months old and up can get an annual flu shot. Infants under six months can't get the vaccine yet—so it’s extra important to reduce the risk of passing the flu to them by vaccinating the kids and adults in their lives.

People spread some myths about when to avoid the flu shot, like during pregnancy or if you have allergies. It’s important to note that the CDC approves flu shots for pregnant people. The flu vaccine can even help protect the baby in utero and after delivery. (Learn more here about the benefits of the flu shot.)

Scientists do use certain egg proteins to make both injected and nasal spray vaccines. Still, the CDC maintains that it's safe for most people with egg allergies. These individuals are generally not at risk of a severe reaction and do not need any prolonged supervision after receiving the vaccine. That said, it’s always a good idea to let your vaccine administrator know about any of your allergies. They might even recommend an alternative vaccine without egg-based ingredients.

Ask Your Doctor Before Getting Vaccinated If...

Experts may not recommend the flu shot for individuals in some rare instances. For example, the vaccine may be risky for people with Guillain-Barré syndrome. For these individuals, the flu shot may cause paralysis (but it’s reversible).

People who've had severe allergic reactions in the past might safely get the vaccine under allergist supervision. In some cases, the benefits of getting protection against the vaccine may be worth it.

If you are still unsure, start a conversation with your primary care doctor or pharmacist to voice your questions and concerns before it’s too late (i.e. you fall sick with the flu).