Influenza Vaccine Consent
1. Why get vaccinated?
Inﬂuenza (“ﬂu”) is a contagious disease.
It is caused by the inﬂuenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or nasal secretions.
Anyone can get inﬂuenza, but rates of infection are highest among children. For most people, symptoms last only a few days. They include:
- sore throat
- muscle aches
- runny or stuffy nose
Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for inﬂuenza.
Young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system – can get much sicker. Flu can cause high fever and pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year thousands of people die from inﬂuenza and even more require hospitalization.
By getting ﬂu vaccine you can protect yourself from inﬂuenza and may also avoid spreading inﬂuenza to others.
2. Inactivated inﬂuenza vaccine
There are two types of inﬂ uenza vaccine:
- Inactivated (killed) vaccine, the “ﬂu shot,” is given by injection with a needle.
- Live, attenuated (weakened) inﬂuenza vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils. This vaccine is described in a separate Vaccine Information Statement.
A “high-dose” inactivated inﬂuenza vaccine is available for people 65 years of age and older. Ask your doctor for more information.
Inﬂuenza viruses are always changing, so annual vaccination is recommended. Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause ﬂu that year. Flu vaccine will not prevent disease from other viruses, including ﬂu viruses not contained in the vaccine.
It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the shot. Protection lasts about a year.
Some inactivated inﬂuenza vaccine contains a preservative called thimerosal. Thimerosal-free inﬂuenza vaccine is available. Ask your doctor for more information.
3. Who should get inactivated inﬂuenza vaccine and when?
All people 6 months of age and older should get ﬂu vaccine.
Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe inﬂuenza and their close contacts, including healthcare personnel and close contacts of children younger than 6 months.
Get the vaccine as soon as it is available. This should provide protection if the ﬂu season comes early. You can get the vaccine as long as illness is occurring in your community.
Inﬂuenza can occur at any time, but most inﬂ uenza occurs from October through May. In recent seasons, most infections have occurred in January and February. Getting vaccinated in December, or even later, will still be beneﬁcial in most years.
Adults and older children need one dose of inﬂuenza vaccine each year. But some children younger than 9 years of age need two doses to be protected. Ask your doctor.
Inﬂuenza vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including pneumococcal vaccine.
4. Some people should not getinactivated inﬂuenza vaccine or should wait
- Tell your doctor if you have any severe (life-threatening) allergies, including a severe allergy to eggs. A severe allergy to any vaccine component may be a reason not to get the vaccine. Allergic reactions to inﬂuenza vaccine are rare.
- Tell your doctor if you ever had a severe reaction after a dose of inﬂuenza vaccine.
- Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS). Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.
- People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting ﬂu vaccine. If you are ill, talk to your doctor about whether to reschedule the vaccination. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.
What are the risks from inactivated inﬂ uenza vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
Serious problems from inactivated inﬂuenza vaccine are very rare. The viruses in inactivated inﬂuenza vaccine have been killed, so you cannot get inﬂuenza from the vaccine.
- soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- sore, red or itchy eyes;
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.
Young children who get inactivated ﬂu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13) at the same time appear to be at increased risk for seizures caused by fever. Ask your doctor for more information.
Tell your doctor if a child who is getting ﬂu vaccine has ever had a seizure.
- Life-threatening allergic reactions from vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot.
- In 1976, a type of inactivated inﬂ uenza (swine ﬂu) vaccine was associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Since then, ﬂu vaccines have not been clearly linked to GBS. However, if there is a risk of GBS from current ﬂu vaccines, it would be no more than 1 or 2 cases per million people vaccinated. This is much lower than the risk of severe inﬂuenza, which can be prevented by vaccination.
One brand of inactivated ﬂu vaccine, called Aﬂuria, should not be given to children 8 years of age or younger, except in special circumstances. A related vaccine was associated with fevers and fever-related seizures in young children in Australia. Your doctor can give you more information.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccine_Monitoring/Index.html, and www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Activities/Activities_Index.html
6. What if there is a severe reaction?
What should I look for?
Any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include difﬁculty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.
What should I do?
- Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.
- Tell the doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.
- Ask your doctor to report the reaction by ﬁ ling a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form. Or you can ﬁle this report through the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
How can I learn more?
- Ask your doctor. They can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
- Call your local or state health department.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or
Visit CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/ﬂu
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Vaccine Information Statement (Interim) Inactivated Inﬂuenza Vaccine (7/26/11) 42 U.S.C. §300aa-26