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Protect Yourself from the Flu with an Annual Flu Shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting yourself and your family. Anyone can get the flu, even healthy people.

There are many convenient ways to get a flu vaccine, including your primary health care provider, your employer, your local health department, or a retail pharmacy in your community. If you are enrolled with a home care agency, call to ask if they are providing flu vaccines to clients. Families with children should call ahead to ensure the vaccine provider can accommodate your family’s needs.

Learn More About the Flu Vaccine

Who should get a vaccine?

CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year. On average, it takes up to two weeks for the vaccination antibodies to develop and provide protection against the flu.

A flu vaccine is particularly important for the following age groups and high-risk populations:

  • 0-2 years - highest risk group for complications from an influenza infection
  • 0-5 years - The state of NJ requires children under 5 years of age in daycare to receive annual influenza vaccine prior to January 1, 2021
  • 50-64 years (30% have some underlying medical conditions that put them at higher risk)
  • 65+ years
  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes
  • Anyone who comes in contact with any of those people mentioned above

Will the flu vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

While flu vaccines won’t do anything to prevent COVID-19, they can be very effective at keeping you from needing medical attention for seasonal influenza.

Learn More About the Flu

Influenza, or "flu," is caused by a virus infecting the respiratory system, meaning your nose, throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs.

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than those of the common cold and are more likely to affect other parts of your body. Flu also tends to come on suddenly while colds can develop gradually.

Flu is very contagious, spreading easily from one person to the next. Most people with healthy immune systems will get over the flu within 2 weeks, but young children, older adults, and people with chronic illnesses are more likely to develop complications such as pneumonia. Learn More >

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fever that comes on suddenly (usually above 101°F [38.3°C])
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, especially in children
  • Weakness and confusion, especially among the elderly