No, a flu shot cannot give you the flu. Flu vaccines contain inactivated or killed viruses which means they cannot cause infection.

Yes, many individuals claim to experience flu-like symptoms after receiving flu vaccines but there are several reasons for this:

  1. Many different influenza viruses exist. A person may be exposed to an influenza virus that is not included in the seasonal vaccine
  2. Other viruses exist in nature that cause symptoms that are similar to those caused by the influenza virus (eg., rhinovirus)
  3. Persons may be exposed to an influenza virus prior to being vaccinated or during the two week window period that it takes for the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated.

For these reasons some people experience flu-like symptoms  after being vaccinated and unfortunately, some people do get the flu despite being vaccinated.

However, it is important to note that the flu vaccine itself DOES NOT give you the flu!

Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of serious flu-related complications and for close contacts of high risk people.

Contributed By Dr. Tonya Roker

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