Are you age 65 or older? Your risk for moderate to severe flu illness is high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 70 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths are in people age 65 and older.

Additionally, 50 to 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations occur for those 65 and older. If you get the flu when you’re over 65, you have more risk for:

  • Sinus and ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Inflammation of the heart and brain
  • Muscle and tissue failure
  • Severe damage to your organs

A shot protects you from flu

The best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot. A flu shot will lower your risk of getting sick from flu. In addition, getting a flu shot can slow the spread of flu to your family, friends and coworkers. Flu viruses can change over time, so flu shots are needed each flu season.

What kind of flu shot is best for me?

VA facilities may offer either a standard dose vaccine or flu vaccines licensed for adults 65 years and older. Either type of vaccine can protect you from flu.

Flu vaccines licensed for those 65 and older may help create a stronger immune response to fight flu. Talk with your provider about what flu vaccines are available for you.

Are there side effects?

Flu shots are among the safest vaccines. Many people don’t have any side effects. Some have soreness in their arm, redness at the shot site, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Where can I get a flu shot?

You can get a flu shot at any VA medical facility or from VA’s 60,000 community partners across the U.S. Learn more about flu and flu shots at or

Jay Shiffler is a communications specialist with the National Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention.

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Published on Nov. 28, 2020

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