Do I need to get the swine flu vaccine if I have had a seasonal flu shot?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Each year, researchers decide what strains of influenza are most likely to become widespread, and they produce a vaccine that protects against these strains. Usually, the vaccine protects against the three most likely influenza viruses that year. If you got a flu shot, you probably got the seasonal flu vaccine. This vaccine does not protect against swine flu.

There is a separate vaccine for swine flu (H1N1), but it is unlikely that you will need it unless the epidemic returns. If you have reason to be concerned about swine flu, such as if your work involves contact with pigs, talk to your healthcare provider.

Diana K. Blythe, MD

After the flu season in 2009-2010 when the swine flu was an epidemic, the seasonal flu shot has had the swine flu vaccine in it. As long as the swine flu is prevalent in the community, the seasonal flu shot will likely have swine flu protection included. Your doctor will know every year which types of flu protection are in the seasonal flu shot.

The swine flu vaccine and the flu shot are one and the same. Each year, researchers around the world determine the three strains of influenza likely to be the most common in the coming flu season. They then include each of these viruses in the vaccine. Ever since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic (originally referred to as the swine flu pandemic), the vaccine available in the U.S. and the whole of the northern hemisphere has included that strain. As long as that's true, the regular seasonal flu vaccine will protect you from the H1N1 virus.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.