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.

1 Answer 1


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". May 17, 2016 at 16:32
  • @unforgettableid Nope. Others may of course edit as they wish.
    – Fomite
    May 17, 2016 at 17:08

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