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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor About the Influenza Vaccine?
NVIC’s If You Vaccinate, Ask 8! webpage and downloadable brochure suggests asking eight questions before you make a vaccination decision for yourself, or for your child. If you review these questions before your appointment, you will be better prepared to ask your doctor questions. Also make sure that the nurse or doctor gives you the relevant Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for the vaccine or vaccines you are considering well ahead of time to allow you to review it before you or your child gets vaccinated. Copies of VIS for each vaccine are also available on the CDC's website and there is a link to the VIS for influenza vaccine on NVIC's “Quick Facts” at the top of this page.
Due to the brevity of the VIS, it is also a good idea to read the vaccine manufacturer product insert that can be obtained from NVIC’s Influenza Quick Facts, doctor or public health clinic to get additional information. Federal law requires drug companies marketing vaccines to include certain kinds of vaccine benefit, risk and use information in product information inserts that may not be available in other published information, like the VIS.
Other questions that may be useful to discuss with your doctor before getting the influenza vaccine are:
- If other vaccines in addition to influenza vaccine are scheduled for my child at this office visit, am I allowed to modify the schedule so fewer vaccines are given at once?
- What should I do if my child has a high fever or appears very ill after vaccination?
- What other kinds of reaction symptoms should I call to report after influenza vaccination?
- If the influenza vaccine doesn’t protect my child, do I have any other options for preventing influenza infection?
It also is important to be able to recognize a vaccine reaction and seek immediate medical attention if the reaction appears serious, as well as know how to make a vaccine reaction report to federal health officials at the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS). NVIC’s Report Vaccine Reactions—It’s the Law webpage can help you file a vaccine reaction report yourself to VAERS if your doctor fails or refuses to make a report.
IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Influenza and the Influenza vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.