We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Influenza Vaccine FREE

Jill Jin, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2014;312(14):1482. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12301.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

The best way to protect yourself from getting influenza is to get vaccinated every year.


Influenza, also called “the flu,” is caused by the influenza virus. It affects the lungs and can cause symptoms such as fever and trouble breathing. Most people recover from the flu on their own. But, in some people who are older or have long-term medical problems, the flu can be a serious or even deadly illness.

Influenza is a seasonal illness and affects most people during the winter months. In the United States, January and February tend to be the worst months for flu, but people can get the flu as early as October and as late as May. Each year the virus changes slightly, and the resulting different types of viruses are called strains. Some strains cause more serious illness than others. These strains are sometimes given special names, such as “swine flu” (H1N1) or “avian flu” (H5N1 and H7N9).


The flu vaccine helps prevent people from becoming sick after being exposed to the influenza virus. Getting vaccinated not only helps to prevent you from getting sick but also can prevent you from spreading the virus to others. As a result, the influenza vaccine has benefits both for individuals and for communities as a whole.

Each year, the flu vaccine becomes available during the fall season. Because the virus changes each year, a new vaccine is developed every year that is specially tailored to protect against the most common flu strains that year. In other words, last year’s vaccine may not work as well for this year’s virus. This is why people get vaccinated for the flu every year.


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all individuals older than 6 months get a flu vaccine every year.

In cases in which there may not be enough vaccine for everybody, vaccination efforts should focus on people who are more likely to be exposed to the flu virus or who are more likely to become very sick from the illness. These include people who are older than 50 years or between 6 months and 4 years of age, have long-term medical problems, are pregnant, or are health care workers.


The flu vaccine is generally safe, with very few side effects. It can be given either as a spray into the nostrils or as a shot into the muscle. The side effects mostly involve discomfort at the site where the vaccine was given. Your doctor will tell you what type of vaccine preparation (shot or spray) is best for you.

Some preparations of the vaccine are made with eggs and cannot be given to people with severe egg allergies. But there are also preparations available that contain no egg products and are safe for people with egg allergies. Ask your doctor about these egg-free preparations if you have a severe egg allergy.

Box Section Ref ID

For More Information

To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA’s website at jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish.


The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Topic: Infectious Disease/Preventive Medicine



Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Spanish Patient Page: Vacuna contra la influenza

Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Related Collections