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About Shots and FluMist

Gannett Health Services
110 Ho Plaza
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-3101

Tel: 607 255-5155
Fax: 607 255-0269

Flu Shot

Regular dose

Inactivated (killed) vaccine, or the “flu shot” is given by injection into the muscle. Influenza viruses are always changing. Because of this, influenza vaccines are updated every year, and an annual vaccination is recommended. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine given by Gannett protects against the four seasonal viruses that research suggests will be most common. It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the shot. Protection lasts up to a year. Read what the CDC says about flu shots.

  • Side effects: In spite of rumors to the contrary, getting a flu vaccine does not give you the flu. Some more common side-effects include soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever (low grade), aches, and nausea.
  • Some inactivated influenza vaccine contains a preservative called thimerosal. Some people have suggested that thimerosal may be related to developmental problems in children. In 2004 the Institute of Medicine reviewed many studies looking into this theory and concluded that there is no evidence of such a relationship. Read more about what the CDC says about thimerosal in flu vaccines.

Fluzone High-Dose (for ages 65+)

(limited supply available)

Aging can decrease the body's ability to have a good immune response after getting a flu vaccine. Fluzone High-Dose is a newer flu vaccine designed for people 65 years and older. The higher dose of antigen contained in this vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu than the regular dose flu shot.

  • Side effects: The safety profile of Fluzone High-Dose is similar to that of regular dose flu vaccines, although some side-effects have been reported more frequently. The most common of those side-effects included pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, headache, muscle aches, fever and malaise.
  • Recommendation: Whether the stronger immune response results in greater protection against influenza illness in older adults is not yet known. The CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have not expressed a preference for either vaccine. If you have questions about whether Fluzone High-Dose is right for you, please talk with your primary care provider.


Note: per federal public health recommendations, FluMist will NOT be available for the 2016-2017 school year.

FluMist is live, attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine that is sprayed into the nostrils and inhaled. It is an effective alternative to the flu shot, available at Gannett and the flu clinics. No preservative is used in its preparation. It will not cause illness. Read what the CDC says about nasal spray flu vaccine.

  • Who can get it: FluMist is an option for people ages 2-49 who do not have asthma or a compromised immune system.

FluMist is NOT appropriate for:

  • children younger than 2 and adults 50 years and older (Note: Gannett does not provide vaccination for children.)
  • pregnant women
  • those with a weakened immune system
  • those with long-term health problems such as heart disease, kidney or liver disease, lung disease, metabolic disease such as diabetes, asthma, anemia and other blood disorders
  • children younger than 5 years with asthma or one or more episodes of wheezing during the past year
  • those with certain muscle or nerve disorders (such as cerebral palsy) that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems
  • those in close contact with a person with a severely weakened immune system (requiring care in a protected environment, such as a bone marrow transplant unit)
  • children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment
  • Side effects: In children, side effects can include runny nose, headache, wheezing, vomiting, muscle aches, and fever. In adults, side effects can include runny nose, headache, sore throat, and cough. Fever is not a common side effect in adults receiving the nasal-spray flu vaccine.