Influenza virus vaccine (Injection)

Introduction

Influenza Virus Vaccine (Subvirion) (in-floo-EN-za VYE-rus VAX-een (sub-VEER-ee-on))

Helps prevent infection with influenza virus.

Brand Name(s)

Fluzone, Fluvirin, Flulaval, Afluria, Flucelvax, Fluzone High-Dose

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to influenza vaccine (flu shot). If you have an allergy to kanamycin, neomycin, or polymyxin, you can only receive certain brands of this vaccine. Make sure your caregiver knows if you are allergic to eggs or chicken, because you may only be able to receive a certain brand of this vaccine. Tell your caregiver if you have ever had a reaction to any vaccine, or if you are sick or have a fever right now. This information will help your caregiver decide if you can safely receive the vaccine.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • The vaccine is given as a shot into a muscle or into your skin, usually in the shoulder area.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • A child who is younger than 9 years and who has not had a flu shot before may need 2 shots. The second shot should be given about 1 month after the first shot. It is usually best for the child to have received both shots before December.
  • You need to get the flu vaccine every year to protect you from the flu.

If a dose is missed:

  • Most people need only 1 dose of the vaccine.
  • If your child needs a second dose of the vaccine, it is very important for him to receive the second dose on schedule. If you must cancel the appointment, make another appointment as soon as possible.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using a medicine or treatment that weakens your immune system, such as a steroid, radiation, or cancer treatment. This vaccine may not work as well if you are also using these medicines. Your doctor may still want you to get the vaccine because it can give you some protection.
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), or theophylline (Theo-Dur®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor or the person who gives the injection knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have bleeding problems (such as hemophilia), a latex allergy, HIV or AIDS, cancer, or any problems with your immune system.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (a severe nerve and muscle problem) or have ever had an unusual reaction to a flu shot, such as severe muscle weakness.
  • Children who have received the Afluria® brand of the influenza vaccine have developed a fever, and in some cases a fever with seizures. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about this.
  • Your protection from the flu takes up to 3 weeks to develop.
  • Influenza virus vaccine may not protect everyone who receives the vaccine. Also, this vaccine will not treat flu symptoms if you already have the virus.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Fever over 103 degrees F
  • Seizures
  • Severe muscle pain or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Drowsiness, headache
  • Irritability or crying
  • Mild fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, tiredness, muscle or joint pain, sweating, rash
  • Redness, pain, swelling, soreness, or a small lump where the shot was given
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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