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Flu Vaccine Questions and Answers

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The flu is more than just a bad cold.

People who get sick with the flu can have fever, cough, sore throat and body aches for several days. The flu causes thousands of hospitalizations and deaths every year. Getting a flu shot is the best way to prevent flu.

Circulating flu viruses can change from year to year. Different viruses affect people differently, based on the virus and a person’s ability to fight infection. Some flu seasons are worse than others. There is no way to predict how severe a flu season will be.

All 2019-2020 flu vaccines protect against these viruses:

  • A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus.
  • A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus.
  • B/Colorado/06/2017–like virus (Victoria lineage).

Most flu vaccines are quadrivalent, meaning they also protect against:

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

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

Learn more about the flu and flu vaccines on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Flu page.


  • 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?
  • Is the nasal spray flu vaccine (FluMist) available this season?
  • What about an egg allergy and the flu vaccine?
  • Is there a special type of flu vaccine available for seniors?
  • Is there mercury in the flu vaccine?
  • Does the flu vaccine cause Guillain-Barre syndrome?

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