Fact or Fiction: You Can Get the Flu from the Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months old and older get a flu vaccine every year. But fear and misconceptions about vaccinations stop people from getting the flu shot. Here is some information to help clear up some of those fears and misconceptions.
Question: Can the flu shot give you the flu?
Answer: You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. But there are several reasons why this is a common misconception.
Some people who get a flu shot develop a mild fever and muscle aches. Sometimes people confuse these symptoms with having the flu, when in fact these symptoms can be side effects of the shot. It takes about two weeks after being vaccinated for the antibodies that protect you against the flu to develop in the body. So even after getting the flu shot, you can still get the flu while your body is building up its immunity. Some people may have been exposed to the flu virus shortly before getting the shot or during that vulnerable two-week period after getting the shot.
Confusion can also happen when a person believes “the flu” is any illness with cold, fever or gastrointestinal symptoms. It is important to understand that not all these are signs of the flu and that the flu vaccine does not protect against all viruses.
Also, the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective. But it reduces the odds of getting the flu by 40 to 60 percent.
When it comes to getting the flu shot, there is one important truth: The vaccine is your best protection against the flu, and your best chance at keeping you and those around you from getting sick.
The CDC recommends you get the flu vaccine by the end of October. But it is not too late to get vaccinated. The flu season usually begins in October or November, peaks between December and February and can last as late as May.
If you have more questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu. You can also learn more facts about some other “flu fiction” out there, by going to https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm.