Is the flu vaccine safe?

If you're allergic to eggs or running a fever, don't get a vaccine without talking first with your healthcare professional. The flu vaccine has been shown to be completely safe to take during pregnancy, but again, discuss this with your healthcare professional. The most common side effect of the vaccine is soreness at the site of the injection. Most people age 6 months and older can receive the flu vaccine, but it is important if you have concerns to discuss these issues with your healthcare provider.
Elizabeth A. Kelly, MD
Allergy & Immunology
The flu vaccine is safe for almost everyone. Muscle aches, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may occur six to 12 hours after getting the vaccine, but they are rare. Persons who are severely allergic to eggs should consult an allergy specialist prior to receiving the flu vaccine.

The vaccine is only recommended for children older than six months of age. If you have an infant under the age of six months, or if you have a child with a high-risk condition, the rest of your family should get flu vaccines. Flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and is recommended to protect your newborn.
In a 2015 survey conducted on behalf of CVS/Pharmacy, 58% of adults said they were planning to get the flu vaccine.  65% of them also said they believed the flu shot was the best way to avoid getting the flu.  Typical side effects from the flu include redness, soreness and swelling where the injection was given, but those go away within a few days.  Some people also experience a low fever.  There have been serious adverse reactions, including Guillain-Barre syndrome, that occurred following a flu vaccination.
Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine
The flu vaccination really is the best tried-and-true advice there is for preventing influenza. But the road to that conclusion runs anything but straight. Among the roadblocks, there are, for starters, the numerous conspiracy theorists -- highly loquacious on the Internet -- who contend not only that flu vaccination is overtly dangerous, but that there is a systematic effort to delude the public about those dangers. Even readers who are not entirely convinced that the CDC is genocidal in its recommendation that everyone over 6 months of age be vaccinated are given pause by such allegations.
One good reason for this hesitation is that for a vaccine to do you any good, you need to get it while feeling fine. This is quite different from, say, an operation that is much more dangerous but easily justified by an obviously broken limb, plugged-up gall bladder or occluded arteries. It can be hard to talk yourself into rolling up your sleeve and getting jabbed with a needle while feeling healthy (even if you are not particularly worried about a government conspiracy).
The truth, though, is that the influenza vaccine is many, many times safer than the flu itself. That does not mean the flu is a plague, nor that the vaccine is perfectly safe. Nothing in medicine and little in life is perfectly safe. Harm from the flu vaccine is possible, but a highly remote risk. For what it may be worth to make this personal, I readily accept that “risk” every year -- for myself, my wife and my children.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
The flu shot is safe in the vast majority of people. Children can start getting the flu shot at six months old. Even people with egg allergies can get the flu shot. Pregnant women can get the flu shot. Your doctor will know your medical history and be able to tell you if the flu shot is safe for you.

Continue Learning about Vaccine



Vaccines work to protect your body against germs. Because of vaccines, many of the diseases that can cause severe sickness, handicaps and death have been eradicated. Learn more from our experts about vaccines.

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.