Myth: “The flu vaccine can cause the flu”

Myth: “The flu vaccine can cause the flu”

Myth: “The flu vaccine can cause the flu”

This is a very common belief. In fact, a recent study showed that 43% of Americans believe that the flu vaccine can give them flu. But the truth is that the influenza vaccine does not contain any live virus – so a person absolutely, definitely CANNOT get the flu from the flu vaccine.

There are several explanations for why someone may experience flu-like symptoms following a flu injection:

  1. Many respiratory tract viruses have the same seasonal pattern as the influenza virus and can cause mild flu-like symptoms. The flu vaccine does not protect you from any other virus.
  2. Your body takes two weeks to mount an immune response after being vaccinated, during which time you are not protected against influenza infection.
  3. You may have been unlucky enough to have caught a strain of flu not covered by the vaccine.
  4. You have a strain of flu that is covered by the vaccine, but you did not get as sick as you would have without the vaccine.

The majority of side effects caused by the flu injection are localised – you may have a sore arm. And the benefits of vaccination far outweigh this.

The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. A yearly flu vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the flu.

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