Need help choosing a flu vaccine? Answer these six questions to find out what type of flu vaccine is right for you.
HealthMap Vaccine Finder is a free, online service where users can search for locations offering flu vaccines. We work with partners such as clinics, pharmacies, and health departments to provide accurate and up-to-date information about receiving the flu vaccine. Our goal is to make flu vaccination available to everyone by simplifying the process of choosing and finding a vaccine provider.
In 2012, Google passed the baton to HealthMap when they retired Google's Flu Vaccine Finder. Google has worked closely with HealthMap as they've created the new HealthMap Vaccine Finder. If you have previously provided data to Google Flu Vaccine Finder, you will need to register and upload your location data to HealthMap.
Should you need further assistance at any point, please contact us at email@example.com.
HealthMap is a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children's Hospital. Learn more about HealthMap.
What is the flu?
Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a group of influenza viruses. It spreads between people through coughing or sneezing and can cause mild to severe illness. In some cases, the flu can lead to death.
Though the flu may be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea, these are rarely the main symptoms. When people refer to the “stomach flu,” they are most likely infected by a different virus, bacteria or parasite, not by a flu virus.
What are the different types of flu?
A flu virus is made up of genetic material encompassed by a protein shell. There are two main types of flu virus that cause illness in people: type A and type B.
Influenza A viruses can be subtyped based on the proteins found on its shell. There are two types of influenza A proteins: hemagglutinin (with 17 different subtypes) and neuraminidase (9 subtypes).
Influenza B viruses can be categorized by strain, but are not referred to by H or N subtypes.
The influenza A viruses included in seasonal influenza vaccines are influenza A/H3N2 and influenza A/H1N1. The vaccine also contains an influenza B strain. These types of influenza virus are included because they are the ones circulating among humans and are the ones most likely to cause illness.
When is flu season?
In the United States, seasonal flu viruses can circulate anytime from October through May, but the month when most cases of flu occur is usually January or February. It is best to get vaccinated early to ensure you are protected throughout the entire season. However, vaccine should still be given throughout the flu season to people not already vaccinated.
Is the flu circulating in my area?
You can track reports of flu using Flu Near You, a joint effort of HealthMap of Children’s Hospital Boston, the American Public Health Association, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks official cases of the flu.
Who should receive a flu vaccine?
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), who provides guidance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.
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.
Talk to your provider about getting the vaccine if you have a severe (life-threatening) reaction to eggs. However, many people even with an egg allergy can be safely vaccinated.
You should not get the flu vaccine if you have had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine.
Talk to your doctor about the flu vaccine is you have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine in the past.
People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine. However, people with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine. Talk to your provider about whether you need to delay your vaccination.
For more information about the flu vaccine, see vaccines.gov.
What are the different types of vaccine?
There are currently 4 types of vaccine on the market.
When should I get vaccinated?
It is best to receive a flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your community, usually in the late summer or fall. The timing of flu activity can be unpredictable. However, flu activity in the U.S. generally occurs most often from October through May with most infections in January and February. Getting vaccinated before flu activities increases is the best way to be protected. However, getting vaccinated in December, or even later, will still be beneficial in most years. Flu vaccine is recommended to be given throughout the flu season.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough (Tdap)
Tetanus, Diphtheria (Td)