Flu Vaccine Clinic
If you would like to get your flu vaccine, please make an appointment by calling (626) 395-6393.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
"Flu" is short for influenza. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a specific strain of viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. They cause productive cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and malaise, and fever. Severe cases can lead to severe illness and even death. The best way to protect against the flu is by getting an annual flu vaccination.
Influenza is a serious disease that causes respiratory problems, malaise and fatigue that can lead to hospitalization and in some cases, death. Each year, different strains of influenza virus affect the population and, therefore, the severity and type of symptoms may vary from year to year. Millions of people get the flu every year and hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta estimates that 12,000-56,000 people die from the flu each year. Influenza is highly contagious and poses a greater risk to certain people, including infants and young children, people over 65 years old, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems as well as some other categories. The flu can be spread to others even before you even feel ill.
Inactivated influenza vaccines are made from inactivated influenza viruses and trigger the production of antibodies in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against flu infection. Most vaccines are multivalent which means they protect against several different strains of the influenza virus.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine annually. This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010, when CDC Advisory Panel on Immunizations voted for "universal" flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students on the Caltech campus will be required to receive the yearly influenza vaccine in the Fall of 2021. Preventing flu is always important, but in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary that everyone in the Caltech community implements all preventative measures possible to reduce illness and preserve scarce health care resources.
The flu season occurs in the fall and winter, but the virus can stay active year-round. Flu vaccination should begin soon after the vaccine becomes available in September, and before December, if possible. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination can be given throughout the flu season, even in January or later. It is never too late to get vaccinated.
- People who have a severe allergy to eggs (see Special Considerations section below)
- People who have had a severe, life-threatening allergy to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine
- People who have developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine
- People who have a moderate to severe illness or are feeling sick
A yearly flu vaccine is needed for two reasons. First, the body's immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, flu viruses are constantly changing. The formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to target the flu viruses that are estimated to be prevalent that season. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.
No. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection.
Yes. The flu vaccine effectiveness varies from year-to-year. In other words, there is a possibility you could get the flu even if you got vaccinated. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on various factors, including the age and health status of the person being vaccinated, and also the similarity or "match" between the viruses used to make the vaccine and those circulating in the community. If the viruses in the vaccine and the influenza viruses circulating in the community are closely matched, vaccine effectiveness is higher.
- Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
- Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, including among children and older adults.
- Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
- Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu, as a mother passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.
- Flu vaccination may make your illness less severe if you do get sick.
- Getting vaccinated also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated' and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine).
The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot.
Some minor side effects that may occur are:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Low-grade fever
- Body aches
However, on rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions or injury from the injection.
People with mild egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended, age-appropriate influenza vaccine and no longer have to be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. People who have severe egg allergies should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. Please discuss your egg allergy with a medical provider before receiving the influenza vaccine.
If you have gotten lightheaded or fainted when getting shots or blood drawn or had a reaction to needles, it is best if you get the flu vaccines while lying down. Please let the health care provider know if have had a reaction to shots in the past.
For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/rr/rr6803a1.htm