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Flu & Pneumonia Vaccines

Rules and Regulations for Schools and Nursing Homes

Influenza Disease

When administering a flu vaccine, it is also a great time to get all ACIP vaccines recommended by age, especially pneumococcal, Tdap, and Zoster. To find a flu vaccine provider near you, go to CDC's Flu Finder Webpage. For other adult vaccines, go to Adult Immunization Providers to find a provider in your county.

What is influenza disease?

  • Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus.
  • The virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs.
  • It can cause mild to severe illness, hospitalization, and even death.

What are the symptoms?

  • Anyone can get flu and it strikes suddenly and can last several days.
  • Symptoms of flu disease may include:
    --Fever or feeling feverish / chills
    --Sore throat
    --Runny or stuffy nose
    --Muscle or body aches
    --Fatigue (very tired)
    --Vomiting and diarrhea

How does influenza disease spread?

  • Flu is spread by:
    --An infected person's droplets from cough, sneeze, or talk enter the mouth, eye, or nose
    --Touching a surface or object with flu virus on it and then touching mouth, eyes, or nose.
  • An infected person can infect others 1 day before symptoms start and up to 5 to 7 days after symptoms start.
  • Some people, especially young children, and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

How do I prevent the flu?

  • Get a yearly flu vaccine.
  • Wash your hands properly and often.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with arm.
  • Clean and sterilize surfaces.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Where can I find more information?

  • Ask your doctor, or contact your local county health department.
  • Email the Alabama Department of Public Health, Immunization Division, at [email protected].
  • Go to and type 'influenza' in the SEARCH box.
  • Read, print, and share our Influenza Fast Fact Flyer to learn more about pertussis disease and vaccines.

Who should get the influenza (flu) vaccine?

  • The flu vaccine is recommended every year for everyone age 6 months or older.

Who should be vaccinated against influenza because they are at increased risk?

  • Children 6 months of age through 5 years.  Adults 65 years of age or older.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term facilities.
  • People who have medical conditions including the following:
    --Chronic lung disease
    --Heart disease.
    --Kidney disorders.
    --Liver disorders.
    --Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease).
    --Weakened immune systems due to disease or medication (such as HIV / AIDS or cancer).
    --People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy.
    --People with extreme obesity.

What are the common vaccine side effects and risks?

  • Flu vaccines are safe, but some side effects can occur.
  • Minor problems following the flu vaccine include soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot, hoarseness, sore, red, or itchy eyes, cough, fever, aches, headache, itching, and fatigue.
  • More serious problems may include Guillain-Barre' syndrome (GBS) in fewer than 1 or 2 cases per one million people vaccinated, children receiving multiple vaccines slightly increase in fever with seizure.
  • People who should not get the flu vaccine include anyone with severe, life-threatening allergies, who had GBS before, or not feeling well on the day of vaccination.

Where can I find more information?

  • Ask your doctor or your local county health department.
  • Email the Alabama Department of Public Health, Immunization Division, at [email protected].
  • Go to and type 'influenza vaccine' in the SEARCH box.
  • Read, print, and share our  Influenza Fast Fact Flyer to learn more about influenza disease and vaccines.

Why Does Anyone Need a Pneumococcal (Pneumonia) Shot?

  • It protects against Pneumonia, which is a serious illness.
  • Pneumonia can cause serious illness requiring hospitalization or even death.
  • Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, needlessly affects millions of people worldwide each year.

Find out about the best defense against Pneumonia from your healthcare provider.

Related Resources

Page last updated: July 26, 2023