Side effects of the flu vaccine

Like all medicines, the flu vaccine can cause side effects. They're usually mild and normally last only a day or two. It’s normal to experience side effects after a vaccine. It shows the vaccine is teaching your body’s immune system how to protect itself from the disease. But not everyone gets side effects.

These potential side effects are much less serious than flu or complications associated with flu.

Common side effects

Very common side effects in the first day or two may include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
  • feeling tired
  • headache, aches and chills
  • diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting
  • mild flu-like symptoms.
  • fever (temperature 37.8°C or above)
  • feeling generally unwell

You can rest and take the normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) to help make yourself feel better.

Urgent advice: Phone 111 if:

You're concerned about yourself or anyone else in your household who is unwell following a vaccination.

Fever after the vaccine

It’s quite common to develop a fever (temperature of 37.8°C or above) after a vaccination. This normally happens within 48 hours of the vaccination and usually goes away within 48 hours.

If the fever starts more than 48 hours after the vaccination, or lasts longer than 48 hours, you should seek medical advice as you may have coronavirus or another infection.

Where can I report suspected side effects?

You can report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card Scheme.

This can be done by:

  • visiting the Yellow Card Scheme website
  • using the Yellow Card app
  • phoning the Yellow Card hotline 0800 731 6789

More information about vaccine side effects

More information on the possible side effects of the flu vaccine is available in the patient information leaflets.

Adjuvanted Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (Seqirus)

Patient information leaflet for the Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine

Cell-based Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (Seqirus)

Patient information leaflet for Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine

Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray (Astra Zeneca)

Patient information leaflet for Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)

Quadrivalent Influenza vaccine (QIVe) egg-based (Sanofi Pasteur)

Patient information leaflet for Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIVe)

Last updated:
23 March 2023

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