Should seniors get the flu vaccine?

YES! Unless you or your loved ones have been advised by a health care professional not to, all seniors should get yearly vaccinations for the flu.

Seniors typically have weaker immune systems, and the right vaccine helps make them stronger. When a senior’s immune system is weak it becomes harder to fight off infections, including flu-related complications. The complications that can develop with the flu include:

  • Ear infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia

Suffering from the flu is serious enough on its own, and these complications can make matters worse. The vaccinated still might get the flu, but it probably won’t be as severe and probably won’t lead to serious complications, so it’s best to get the shot ahead of the flu season and allow roughly two weeks to build immunity to the latest versions of the flu.

What you can do to fight the flu?

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. 
  • Avoid crowds when the flu is spreading in your area during flu season.
  • Avoid being in close contact with others who are sick or are showing flu symptoms.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as counters, light switches or doorknobs. 

Any side effects for seniors who get the flu vaccine?

While a small number of people may have some serious side effects from the vaccine, the majority of seniors experience mild, short-lasting effects which often resolve within a few days. These common symptoms include pain, redness, or swelling on the body where a senior took the injection, along with headaches, muscle aches, and other forms of discomfort.

Why do we —including seniors—need a flu shot every year?

Because the flu can evolve quickly, the vaccine used last year might not protect against the new version of the virus this year. So, it’s always good to be current and take the newest dose ahead of what’s commonly called “flu season”—roughly October to May. Since protection from the flu vaccine lasts approximately six months, getting the shot in September or October should provide coverage throughout the season.