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North Carolina Immunization Branch

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Influenza

The Disease

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

The Vaccine

There are two types of vaccines:

1. The "flu shot" is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

2. The nasal-spray flu vaccine is a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for “live attenuated influenza vaccine” or FluMistĀ®). LAIV (FluMistĀ®) is approved for use in healthy people 2 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.

Who Should get Vaccinated?

Everyone over 6 months of age should receive a flu vaccine.

North Carolina Requirements

Flu vaccination is not required in North Carolina.

Additional Resources: