Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergic reactions: Rarely, this vaccine may cause severe allergic reactions. This is why your doctor may ask you to stay in the office for about 30 minutes after having the vaccine so that you can get medical care if you experience an allergic reaction. If you notice signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives; trouble breathing or swallowing; or swelling of the lips, face, throat, or tongue), get medical attention immediately.
Allergy to eggs: People who have an allergy to eggs that causes anaphylaxis (hives, swelling of the mouth and throat, difficulty breathing) should discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of receiving this vaccine and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Bleeding: If you have a bleeding disorder or if you take anticoagulants (blood thinners), talk to your doctor about how this vaccine may affect your medical condition and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS): Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a neurological disorder, has been rarely reported after this vaccine is given. If you experience any weakness or tingling in the legs, arms, or upper body, contact your doctor. Most people recover fully from GBS.
Immune system: As with any vaccine, influenza vaccine may not be as effective for those who have a weakened immune system (e.g., people on chemotherapy, people who have had an organ transplant, or people with HIV).
Vaccine protection: As with any vaccine, this vaccine may not protect 100% of people who receive it. The vaccine only provides protection against certain strains of the flu virus – the ones from which it was prepared (or ones that are closely related).
Pregnancy: If you are or may become pregnant while receiving this medication, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this vaccine. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends influenza vaccination for healthy pregnant women.
Breast-feeding: Breast-feeding mothers can receive the influenza vaccination.
Children: The influenza vaccine is not recommended in children under 6 months of age.