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I share a house with a healthy nonagenarian. I know the flu can be dangerous for people of advanced age, so I'm considering getting a flu shot this year.

Is this a good idea? Are there any risks I could pose after being vaccinated? I've heard (anecdotally) that you can be mildly contagious for a brief time.

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There are two types of flu vaccine - inactivated influenza vaccine (which uses 'killed' influenza virus) and live-attenuated vaccine (which uses a more mild virus that should be asymptomatic).

According to the CDC, among the contraindications for the live-attenuated vaccine is: "Children aged <2 years or adults aged ≥50 years". This is likely because, as you mentioned, it's possible for you to shed said live virus and infect others, and while the attenuated flu strain should be harmless, it's not a great idea to test that on high risk groups.

The inactivated vaccine carries no such contraindication. It is however something you should certainly bring up with your medical professional.

  • +0 because this answer includes medical jargon such as the words "asymptomatic" and "contraindication". It's otherwise a very good answer though. If you do edit the jargon out, feel free to ping me (unforgettableid at gmail dot com) and to flag this comment as "obsolete". – unforgettableid May 17 '16 at 16:32
  • @unforgettableid Nope. Others may of course edit as they wish. – Fomite May 17 '16 at 17:08

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