Annual Flu Shots – Do you really need them?

A blog by Dr. Muneeba Siddique

Influenza vaccines, also known as flu jabsor flu shots, are vaccines that protect against infection by the influenza viruses.

New versions of the vaccines are developed twice a year as the influenza virus rapidly changes. Vaccination to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, including:

  • Older people (above 65 years old)
  • Toddlers (under 5 years old)
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with certain chronic conditions such as asthma, endocrine disorders, heart conditions, etc.
  • Individuals with weakened immunities, either due to disease or medication

Ideally, everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine. Due to the drastic change in the seasons, it is advised to get a flu vaccine done towards the latter part of October.

Benefits of the flu vaccine:

  • Flu vaccination can protect you from contracting certain types of flu
  • Several studies have shown that flu vaccination reduces the severity of illness and flu symptoms in those who have been vaccinated
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization
  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, and chronic lung disease
  • Flu vaccination during pregnancy protects pregnant women from flu during and after pregnancy, as well as their infants during the first few months of life
  • Flu vaccine can be lifesaving for toddlers
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may not only protect yourself but also the people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications

Misconceptions about the Flu vaccine

Can the flu vaccine give you the flu? 

No, it shouldn’t.

Is it better to get sick with the flu than to get a flu vaccine?

No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among younger children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Do I really need the flu vaccine every year?

Yes. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, with only a few exceptions.

Why do some people not feel well after getting the flu vaccine?

Some people report having mild side effects after flu vaccination, like low-grade fever, headache, soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. These are common symptoms of most vaccines, but the discomfort usually subsides within 1-2 days. Always remember to get enough rest and drink enough water after any vaccine.  

To book your flu vaccine at Dubai London Hospital please call 800 352.