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Immunization Clinics

Info on immunizations

Here are a few general facts about influenza and vaccinations. As always, you should check with your doctor, or a medical professional if you have specific questions or would like more details.

Why get vaccinated?

Influenza ("flu") is a contagious disease. It is caused by the influenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or nasal secretions. Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for influenza. But only an illness caused by the influenza virus is really influenza.

Anyone can get influenza, but rates of infection are highest among children. For most people, it lasts only a few days. It can cause fever, sore throat, chills, fatigue, cough, headache and muscle aches.

Select Hannaford Pharmacy locations offer vaccinations right in the store, check with your pharmacy for details.

Influenza vaccine

There are two types of seasonal influenza vaccine:

  1. Inactivated (killed) vaccine, or the "flu shot" is given by injection into the muscle.
  2. Live, attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils.

Influenza viruses are always changing. Because of this, these "seasonal" influenza vaccines are formulated to prevent annual flu. Influenza vaccines are updated every year, and an annual vaccination is recommended.  It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the shot. Protection lasts up to a year.

Who should get influenza vaccine?

Select Hannaford pharmacies can offer the influenza vaccine to the following:

  • Anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza or spreading influenza to others. 
  • All children from 12 years of age.
  • Anyone 50 years of age or older. Anyone who is at risk of complications from influenza, or more likely to require medical care:
  • Anyone with long-term health problems with:
    • heart disease
    • lung disease
    • diabetes
    • asthma
  • Residents of nursing homes.
  • Health care providers.
  • Household contacts and caregivers of children or adults over 50 years old.
  • People living in dormitories.
  • People at high risk of influenza complications who travel to the Southern hemisphere between April and September, or to the tropics or in organized tourist groups at any time.

When should I get influenza vaccine?

You can get the vaccine as soon as it is available, usually in the fall, and for as long as illness is occurring in your community. Check with your local Hannaford Pharmacy to see when they will be offering vaccinations in the store. Influenza can occur any time from November through May, but it most often peaks in January or February. Getting vaccinated in December, or even later, will still be beneficial in most years.

Some people should talk with a doctor before getting influenza vaccine

  • Some people should not get inactivated influenza vaccine or should wait before getting it.
  • People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine.
  • People with a severe egg allergy should not get the vaccine because it is grown in eggs.
  • A severe allergy to any vaccine component is also a reason to not get the vaccine.
  • If you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS). You may be able to get the vaccine, but your doctor should help you make the decision.

What are the risks from inactivated influenza vaccine?  

The viruses in inactivated influenza vaccine have been killed, so you cannot get influenza from the vaccine.

Mild problems:
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.

  • soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • cough, fever, aches

Severe problems:
Life-threatening allergic reactions from vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. These may include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • hives
  • pale skin
  • fast heart beat
  • dizziness

The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. If a serious reaction occurs, call a doctor, or get the person medical attention right away.

How can I learn more?

  • Ask your provider.
  • Call your local or state health department.
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/flu