Seasonal vaccines

Respiratory illnesses are on the rise. Even if you've been vaccinated before, it's important to get the updated vaccine for the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization from the current flu and COVID-19 strains. Get the facts about how vaccines work and how to get vaccinated, so you can stay healthy all season long.

Getting a vaccine at Kaiser Permanente


Don’t let the flu slow you down. Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season.


The FDA has approved a vaccine for specific populations, including people 60 and older who are at risk for severe illness and pregnant people.


Staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness. Learn the latest recommendations.

How vaccines work

Vaccines teach your immune system how to fight specific viruses. They imitate the virus so your immune system can learn to protect itself. Once your body knows how to protect itself, it can fight off the real virus faster and more effectively. This means you’ll be much less likely to get sick from that virus. And if you do get sick, your symptoms will be much milder than if you hadn’t been vaccinated. 
Nurse putting a bandage on a patient’s arm

Most vaccines are given as a shot. Some are a single dose. Others need repeated doses over time. This helps you build up immunity — protecting you now and in the future.
Person resting in bed

Your immune system gets stronger as it learns how to fight a virus. Vaccines won’t cause infections, but some people may have minor side effects for a few days after.
2 people having a picnic

Getting vaccinated protects you and those around you. When many people get vaccinated against an illness, it may become less common, so everyone is less likely to get sick.

Seasonal vaccine availability

Staying up to date with your recommended vaccinations is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from seasonal respiratory viruses.

  • Influenza (the flu) — Flu shots are updated each year. One vaccine a year is recommended for most people. For their first season of flu vaccination, children 6 months to 8 years need 2 flu shots a minimum of 4 weeks apart. Kaiser Permanente members can get a flu shot at no cost during flu season, beginning in early fall.

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — An RSV vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for certain populations. 

  • COVID-19 — The 2024-25 COVID-19 vaccine will be available this September. 

  • Common cold — There’s no vaccine for a cold, but symptoms are generally mild and can be treated at home.

Clinician giving a shot to a child

Common questions

Yes, vaccines are safe and effective.

Vaccines won’t cause infections. Some people have minor side effects, like fever, fatigue, and soreness. These are signs that your immune system is learning to fight the virus. Most side effects are mild and only last a few days.

The flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine have prevented many people from getting sick. They each take about 2 weeks to be effective, so it’s important to get vaccinated so you’re fully protected. If you get infected after being vaccinated, your symptoms will likely be milder and you’re much less likely to get severely ill. 

The amount of time you’re immune after getting a vaccine depends on the virus. Immunity from the flu lasts between 3 and 6 months. You should get a flu shot every year because the virus changes. New flu shots are created annually to fight the latest flu virus. Other vaccines, like the one for whooping cough (pertussis), are given less frequently. Your doctor can help you keep track of the recommended vaccination schedule for children and adults. 

Yes. It’s safe to get more than one vaccine at a time, including a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine, if recommended. 

You can check your immunization history in your medical record when you’re signed in to You’ll also be able to see these details for any family members who are linked to your account.

It’s important to help prevent the spread of germs. Respiratory infections like colds, the flu, RSV, and COVID-19 are contagious. That means they may spread easily from person to person. Use a tissue to cover your cough or sneeze. When you’re sick, stay home as much as possible and wear a mask if you need to go out.

Other ways you can help protect yourself:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces you touch often, like your phone, TV remote, door handles, and light switches.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Boost your immune system with a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, and eat nutritious food.