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What kind of flu vaccines are there?

There are two types of flu vaccines:

1. The flu shot—an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

There are three different flu shots available:

  • a regular flu shot approved for people ages 6 months and older
  • a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older, and
  • an intradermal flu shot approved for people 18 to 64 years of age.

2. The nasal-spray flu vaccine—a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine). The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine do not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Dr. Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrician

Flu vaccines come as a shot or as a nasal spray. Most people can receive the flu shot. People with certain chronic diseases cannot receive the nasal spray because it is a live virus vaccine.

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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.