The flu (short for “influenza”) can be a serious illness. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu is to get a flu shot every year. A flu vaccine is recommended for all adults and children ages 6 months and older. Most flu vaccines are “flu shots” given with a needle, but there is also a nasal spray flu vaccine.

Who Needs a Flu Vaccine?

While everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year, it’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. A flu vaccine is strongly recommended for the following two groups.

People at high risk for becoming very ill from the flu, including:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2.
  • Adults age 65 and older.
  • Pregnant people and people who are up to two weeks postpartum.
  • People with certain medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or chronic lung disease.
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives.

People who live with or care for someone who could become very ill from the flu, including:

  • Family members/caregivers of babies and young children.
  • Health care workers.
  • Family members and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions. To learn more, see Flu & People 65 Years and Older from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Where to Get a Flu Vaccine

The Cambridge Public Health Department offers annual flu vaccine clinics in the fall. The vaccines are free. You do not need insurance, a social security number, or an ID. For clinic dates and locations, please check our Upcoming Events section.

Many primary care physicians and local pharmacies offer flu vaccines to adults and children. Find locations for flu vaccine on Vaccines.gov.

Flu: What You Can Do

What if you or a family member comes down with the flu? Flu: What You Can Do provides useful information for caring for loved ones with the flu. Translated versions are available in Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

To learn more about the flu, see the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health flu websites.


Updated: November 3, 2023