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The Flu Vaccine: Questions and Answers

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Who needs a flu vaccine?

Influenza (the flu) is more than just a bad cold. People can suffer with fever, cough, sore throat and body aches for several days. Influenza causes thousands of deaths and hospitalizations every year. Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu.

The flu viruses that circulate can change from year to year and can affect people differently based on the virus and the person’s ability to fight infection. Some flu seasons are worse than others and there is no way to predict how severe the flu season will be. All of the 2017-2018 influenza vaccines protect against the following three viruses:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus.
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus.
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).

Quadrivalent influenza vaccines include an additional B virus:

  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).

All of the flu vaccines supplied by the Vaccines For Children Program in Washington are quadrivalent.

For more information about flu and flu vaccines, visit:


  • Who should get the flu vaccination?
  • If I got a flu vaccination last year, do I need one again this year?
  • When should I get a flu vaccination?
  • Do children need more than one dose of flu vaccine per year?
  • Are there side effects to the flu vaccine?
  • How effective is the flu vaccine?
  • Is the flu vaccination safe?
  • Why isn't the nasal spray flu vaccine recommended this season?
  • What about an egg allergy and the flu vaccine?
  • Is there a special type of flu vaccine available for seniors?
  • Are there other flu vaccine products available?
  • Is there mercury in the flu vaccine?
  • Does the flu vaccine cause Guillain-Barre syndrome?

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