About the New Quadrivalent and Intradermal Flu Shot

Frequently Asked Question

Intradermal Flu Shot

What is the quadrivalent flu vaccine?

The quadrivalent (four virus) flu vaccine is similar to the traditional flu vaccine except that it includes two influenza B strains instead of one as well as the two influenza A strains currently used in traditional influenza vaccines. Traditional flu vaccines offer protection from H1N1, H3N1 (both Type A influenza viruses) and one B flu virus.

Is the vaccine used in the intradermal shot the same as other flu shots?

The quadrivalent flu shot is similar to the traditional flu shot by offering protection from H1N1, H3N1 (both Type A influenza viruses).  However, the quadrivalent shot offers protection against two B influenza viruses instead of just one B virus in the traditional shot.

Who can receive a quadrivalent vaccine?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the quadrivalent vaccine for individuals aged ages 3 - 65+ years of age and the quadrivalent nasal spray for ages 2- 65+.

What are the risks of the quadrivalent vaccine?

You cannot get the flu by having a quadrivalent flu vaccination.  Possible risks with the quadrivalent flu vaccine are the same as a traditional flu shot and the risk of a serious health problem from the vaccine is extremely small.  Yet, like other types of medicine, a rare serious reaction such as a severe allergic reaction is possible. Please tell your doctor or nurse know if you have a history of an allergic reaction to a flu shot or eggs, and if you have been diagnosed with Guillain BarrĂ© Syndrome within the past 6 weeks.

Are there any side effects that could occur?

Similar to the traditional flu shot, possible side effects from a quadrivalentflu shot include redness, swelling or itching at the injection site.  Other side effects may include tiredness, muscle aches or headache, which may persist for up to a week.

Intradermal Flu Shot

What is the intradermal flu vaccine?

The Fluzone intradermal vaccine uses a much finer and shorter needle than the traditional flu shot to deliver the flu vaccine.  This needle size makes the intradermal vaccine a great option for individuals who are afraid of needles.  The vaccine is also injected into the skin instead of the muscle like the traditional flu shot.  Studies have shown that the intradermal injection works in the body the same way as a traditional flu shot and is as effective in protecting against the flu virus. 

Is the vaccine used in the intradermal shot the same as other flu shots?

The intradermal shot actually uses about 40% less antigen (the virus protection part of a shot) than a traditional shot, but offers the same level of protection.  The vaccination is also preservative-free (does not contain thimerosal).

Who can receive an intradermal vaccine?

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the intradermal vaccine for adults 18-64 years of age.

What are the risks of the intradermal vaccine?

Just like a traditional flu shot, you cannot get the flu by having an intradermal flu vaccination.  Possible risks with the intradermal flu vaccine are the same as a traditional shot.  The risk of a serious health problem from the vaccine is extremely small.  Yet, like other types of medicine, a rare serious reaction such as a severe allergic reaction is possible. Let your doctor or nurse know if you have a history of an allergic reaction to a flu shot or eggs, and if you have been diagnosed with Guillain BarrĂ© Syndrome within the past 6 weeks.

Are there any side effects that could occur?

Possible side effects from an intradermal flu shot include redness, swelling or itching at the injection site.  Other side effects may include tiredness, muscle aches or headache, which may persist for up to a week