5 important facts about the flu shot

by Kaiser Permanente |
Smiling parent and child

It’s the return of flu season. And that means it’s time to take steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy. The good news is you can help avoid serious illness — just by getting a flu shot. It’s one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and keep your immune system healthy and strong.

Get vaccinated early 

The sooner you get your flu shot, the sooner your body can start building up to full immunity. Immunity means how well you’re protected against a disease. One way to protect yourself is by getting vaccines, like the flu shot. A flu shot helps your body make antibodies that then work to fight the flu virus. It takes about 2 weeks for your body to create the antibodies to protect you against the flu. That’s why it’s better to get the flu shot as soon as possible. Flu season may peak as early as the holidays — and you want to be prepared.

Who’s at risk for the flu?

Millions of children get sick with the flu every year 

A typical flu illness can mean missing a week or more of school. Once they have it, children can spread the flu to their family and friends. And children younger than 5 have a higher risk for flu complications.

Some people are more likely to have complications

Young children, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems — like chemotherapy patients — are more likely to have a harder time fighting the flu. They can get more serious health complications, including pneumonia or bronchitis.  And the flu can make chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV worse.1

Pregnant people can protect their babies by getting the flu shot

The immunity you build will pass to your baby. Infants have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from the flu, since they can’t get a flu shot until they’re 6 months old. So, getting vaccinated during pregnancy is the best way to protect your baby from the flu. And the flu shot can protect you and your baby from the flu for several months after you give birth.2

Everyone’s at risk of getting the flu

Even healthy people get sick enough to miss time from work or school — or be hospitalized. So, your entire family should get a flu shot every year. And for people 65 and older, high-dose vaccines may offer extra protection against the flu.

5 important facts about the flu shot

In the worst cases, the flu can put your life at risk. Knowing these facts about the flu and the flu shot can help save your life, or the life of someone you love. 

Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received the flu shot in the last 50 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research has also shown the flu vaccines are safe.

The flu shot can help reduce the effects of the flu, even if you or a loved one catches it.

The flu shot can’t give you the flu because it doesn’t have any active flu virus in it.

You need to get this year’s flu shot for the best protection, since the flu virus changes every year.

By getting vaccinated, you also help protect the people around you,  including people who are more vulnerable to the flu, like small children and people with weakened immune systems.

If you have more questions about the flu shot, ask your doctor.

We’re also here to help you stay safe from other viruses like COVID-19 this flu season. Check our website for information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Get your flu shot with Kaiser Permanente today.

The flu shot is a safe, effective way to help prevent the flu and protect yourself and the people around you. Learn more about getting the flu shot.

People at Higher Risk of Flu Complications,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed October 24, 2023.

Flu & Pregnancy,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed October 24, 2023.