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Do You Need Annual Flu Shots? 5 Things to Know


If you’re from the United States, you may know that flu season happens every fall and winter. More specifically, people will likely get the flu between December and February. Hence, healthcare facilities around the country offer influenza shots for everyone who needs a shot.

Unlike other vaccines, the flu shot is one that people are recommended to have annually. You can take it via a traditional syringe or a nasal spray, depending on your preference. However, some think there’s no need to have it yearly. Reasons vary from fear of needles to believing they’re healthy enough to avoid contracting the flu.

If you’re still undecided about whether you must get the shot or not, keep reading. Here’s a list of flu vaccine information to help you decide.

People with Certain Medical Conditions May Decline

If your workplace requires you to have a flu shot yet you’d rather not, you could risk losing your job. However, if you know how to legally decline a flu vaccine, your employer may help accommodate your needs so that everyone in the company stays safe.

Some people with specific medical conditions may have adverse reactions to the flu vaccine. Therefore, they could be eligible to refuse the shot annually. For example, those with allergies to egg proteins, gelatin, and certain antibiotics usually don’t get flu shots yearly. But a few, upon their doctor’s advice, can still take it and not experience side effects.

People with autoimmune issues like Guillain-Barré Syndrome patients may also decline the vaccine if they choose. Their bodies can’t differentiate between types of antibodies, viruses, bacteria, and peripheral nerves. Giving them the flu shot might be more dangerous in their situation.

Flu Shots Helps Avoid Severe Complications

As anyone who’s had the flu knows, the illness is quite debilitating. Flu symptoms, which include cough, colds, and high fever, can weaken the whole body. Sometimes, the fragile state of your body makes you more prone to fatal complications. So, if you’re at high risk of ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis, you’re recommended to take a flu shot annually.


Getting the flu shot to protect yourself from easily avoidable issues is part of being a responsible citizen. Influenza is a highly contagious condition and could become lethal when left untreated. As mentioned, some people can’t or refuse to get vaccinated and may contract the sickness from others. So, one way to protect them from the flu virus is for you to become part of their herd immunity.

The Elderly, Pregnant People and Children Should Take it

A handful of people still think the flu shot is unsafe for the immunocompromised. However, getting vaccinated is quite essential for them to stay healthy.

People who are much older or pregnant may decline the annual flu shot. Yet it’s better for them to have it nonetheless. They could benefit more from getting a flu vaccine as they’re susceptible to various diseases like the flu. Their condition or age can also affect how long it’ll take to recover after getting sick, especially if they don’t have a vaccine.

Meanwhile, health professionals encourage parents to have their kids vaccinated against the flu. Children are still building up their immune system, which needs help from exercise, diet, and vaccines. But it’s also on a case-to-case basis. Babies under six months old don’t need the flu shot yet. Kids with allergies or severe reactions to the flu shot also don’t have to take it.

Nasal Flu Vaccines are Not for Everyone

If you’re afraid of needles, many healthcare facilities have nasal flu spray as an option. It’s a safe and effective alternative for most people and children. So, you can receive your annual flu vaccine through this method if you prefer.

But it’s not ideal for everyone. Nasal flu sprays are generally not given to specific individuals. These include the following:

  • Children under two years old
  • People over 50 years old
  • Pregnant people
  • Anyone with chronic health issues, allergies, diseases, and infections to the flu vaccine
  • Children from two to four years old with asthma or a history of wheezing
  • Children and adolescents who received medications containing aspirin or salicylate

Always talk to your doctor if you want the annual flu shot and you’re one of the people on the list above. It’s best to get their advice to avoid complications or adverse reactions from the vaccine.


Healthcare Workers are Encouraged to Get it

In healthcare, you constantly interact with patients with various illnesses, including the flu. Therefore, you’re one of those who need to have their annual flu shots. The vaccine can help prevent the spread of flu in your facility and avoid harming patients.

Flu shot requirements vary from state to state. Some states make annual flu vaccines mandatory for all healthcare personnel. Others usually accept medical and religious exemptions. So, double-check your state’s laws before you make your decision.

If you plan to get vaccinated, it’s best to take your flu shot early. The beginning of fall is the ideal time for it. You’ll be better protected at work when the flu season rolls in this way.


The annual flu shot is one of the best ways to stay healthy during the flu season. Influenza is more than a persistent cold. It can render your body frail, even long after you recover. But you may still choose to decline the vaccine due to medical reasons or others.

Remember to communicate with your healthcare provider if you still have doubts about the flu shot. They’ll help you take options to avoid contracting the flu and spreading the virus to those who can’t take the vaccine.

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