Is There a Minimum Age for Flu Shot & Are Flu Shots Necessary?
As this year’s flu season gets underway with an already strained healthcare system battling the coronavirus pandemic, getting an annual flu shot has never been more important. However, many people wonder if there is an ideal flu shot age range and if flu shots are even necessary. This article will delve into the main FAQs about the maximum and minimum age for flu shots. We’ll also touch on how those with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and/or an egg allergy can safely get vaccinated against the flu.
Who Should Not Get a Flu Shot?
Is there a flu shot age range? While there are exceptions, the CDC recommends 6 months or older as the minimum age range for flu shots. For people who are at an increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu, it is even more important to get vaccinated. While most people will likely recover from influenza within a few days to a couple of weeks, some people are at risk of developing more serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as pneumonia. Those at an increased risk include people 65 years and older, those with certain chronic medical conditions (including asthma, diabetes and heart disease), pregnant women and children younger than 5 years, particularly those younger than 2.
If you have a weakened immune system but are wondering “are flu shots necessary”, then the answer “yes”! One significant misconception is that it isn’t safe for people with compromised immune systems or those struggling with cancer. In actuality, not only is it safe, but it is even more important for people with weakened immune systems to get an annual flu shot because they are more likely to develop serious complications from the flu.
Are Flu Shots Necessary?
While the CDC recommends the vast majority of people get an annual flu shot, there are some notable exceptions regarding who should get the flu shot. Any person with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient within the vaccine – like gelatin, antibiotics, etc. – should not get an annual flu shot. Additionally, the flu vaccine is not approved for children younger than 6 months. For these people, practicing preventative hygiene and maintaining distance from people who may be infected will be critically important throughout flu season.
It is also important to remember there are several forms of flu vaccines, and each person should ensure they are getting a flu shot approved for their age group. The CDC recommends any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine. Be sure to speak to your healthcare provider to determine which vaccination is right for you.
Special Considerations for Those with an Allergic Reaction to a Flu Shot
Some people worry about having an allergic reaction to the flu shot. In some cases, people with allergies to eggs believe they cannot get vaccinated because it is produced using an egg-based manufacturing process. Similarly, those who have a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome worry getting the flu vaccination will cause a recurrence. While the flu vaccine is safe for these people, there are some things to consider that will help ensure safe vaccination this flu season.
Flu Shots for People with Egg Allergies
Because most flu shots and nasal spray vaccines are produced using egg-based manufacturing processes, people with food allergies are often concerned about the safety of getting an annual flu shot. Though these vaccines do contain a small amount of egg protein, studies have shown that even those with severe allergies to eggs are extremely unlikely to have a reaction to the flu vaccine. In fact, the CDC found that only 1.31 per one million vaccine doses given resulted in anaphylaxis. Those who do have a severe egg allergy should receive their vaccination in an inpatient or outpatient medical facility while under the supervision of a healthcare provider trained in recognizing and managing severe allergic reactions.
Guillain-Barré Syndrome & The Flu Shot
Guillain-Barré Syndrome is an extremely rare disorder in which the immune system attacks the nervous system and causes muscle weakness and/or paralysis. While its causes are not fully understood, GBS often occurs after a person has fought off a bacterial or viral infection, like influenza. In very rare cases, people develop GBS shortly after getting a vaccination. Many people who have battled GBS worry about recurrence after getting the flu shot, even if their initial episode was not associated with a vaccine. The CDC closely monitors the linkage between the vaccine and GBS and has found there is no significant increased risk associated with getting the annual flu shot. In fact, studies have shown a person is actually more likely to get GBS after battling the flu than after receiving the vaccine. Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider about the risks of getting vaccinated if you have concerns about a recurrence of GBS.
Schedule Your Flu Shot with ArmorVax
ArmorVax is here for you to streamline the vaccination process and help keep you and your family safe this flu season. By helping you locate a vaccine provider, walking you through the check-in process, and giving you access to your vaccination records, the ArmorVax app makes getting an annual flu shot easier than ever. Stay healthy this season. Download the ArmorVax app today!