Flu Vaccines Have Good Record Safety for 2010-2011 Flu Vaccines Have Good Record Safety for 2010-2011
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Safety of 2010-2011 Flu Vaccines

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1 and two other influenza viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus).

Last year’s monitoring of the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccines showed that these vaccines had a safety record similar to that of seasonal flu vaccines. CDC evaluated reports of adverse health events after the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccines were given and determined that most of the reports were for mild side effects such as soreness where the shot was given and nasal congestion. See "Adverse events following influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccines reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, United States, October 1, 2009-January 31, 2010".

Similarly, when side effects occur from seasonal flu vaccines, they are usually mild. The most common side effects from the seasonal flu shot are soreness, redness, and tenderness or swelling where the shot is given. The most common side effects from the seasonal flu nasal spray vaccine are runny nose or congestion.

How Flu Vaccines are Monitored

Every year, CDC works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), healthcare providers, state and local health departments, and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines. CDC also works closely with FDA to ensure systems are in place to promptly detect unexpected health problems following vaccination.

CDC and FDA are monitoring the safety of 2010-2011 flu vaccines through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is the nation’s frontline system to detect potential vaccine safety problems. VAERS receives reports from anyone who knows about or has experienced a health problem following flu vaccination. Although VAERS cannot determine if a flu vaccine caused a health problem (or adverse event), the system can detect patterns of potential concern that might require investigation.

CDC also manages the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project. The VSD Project contains the medical records of more than 9 million people in the participating managed care organizations. VSD is used to assess whether certain health outcomes are more likely to occur after flu vaccination than would be expected. VSD also is used to conduct immunization safety studies when needed, as indicated by medical literature reviews, reports to VAERS, changes in immunization schedules, or the introduction of new vaccines.

Some People Should Not Get Flu Vaccine

Though flu vaccines are safe for most people, some people should not get the flu vaccine. People with known severe allergic reactions to eggs or another component of the flu vaccine should not get the flu vaccine. They should have their doctor review the flu vaccine package insert for a list of components. See "Complete List of Vaccines Licensed for Immunization and Distribution in the US" and scroll down to "Influenza Virus Vaccine."

Additionally, any person who has had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) should tell their doctor so they can make an informed decision about whether they should be vaccinated against influenza. Also, children younger than 6 months old are too young to be vaccinated. For more information, visit Who Should Not Get Vaccinated with These Vaccines?

You or Your Healthcare Provider Can Report to VAERS

CDC and FDA encourage healthcare providers to use VAERS to report clinically important adverse events that occur after vaccinations. Anyone who experiences any health problems after flu vaccination should talk to a doctor about submitting a report to VAERS, or they may file a report themselves. People who are not sure whether a certain type of adverse event should be reported to VAERS can talk with their health care provider.

Healthcare providers are required by law to report certain adverse events. To get a list of these reportable events, please call 1-800-822-7967 or go to www.vaers.hhs.gov/reportable.htm.

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), people may be compensated for injuries that may have been caused by certain vaccines. Please be aware that reporting an event to VAERS does not constituting filing a claim with the VICP. Information on the VICP can be obtained by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Web site.