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Duke Medicine: Flu mythbusters

Posted October 24, 2011

Why do some people say they always get sick after getting the flu shot?

This may be true, but for a very small number of people, says Duke infectious disease expert Dr. Cameron Wolfe.

The vaccine is quite good at building your immunity, so some people with a robust immune system will respond more vigorously to the vaccine building their immunity, but feeling a little worse while that occurs.

A sore shoulder, low-grade temperatures, and mild aches are possible for about 5 to 10 percent of the adult population.

Remember, it’s building your immunity, so it’s a protective response. The vaccine will not give you the flu.

Dr. Wolfe answers more common questions about the flu vaccine in the full post on Find health tips and advice from Duke Medicine, Go Ask Mom's sponsor, every Tuesday.


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  • tarheelgrad1998 Oct 25, 2011

    It doesn't give you the flu but may give you symptoms of the flu...which are what people don't like to begin with. As as has been said, it has no guarantee that you won't get the flu. And that's besides any side effects.

    No thanks, I'll pass.

  • drfoste3 Oct 25, 2011

    The vaccine may not give you the flu, but getting the vaccine does not ensure that you won't get the flu. This is because vaccine producers use the three most prominent viral strands from the previous flu season to make the vaccine for the following year. If there is a new strand, or many new strands, which there usually are, then the vaccine will not work. Also, if everyone was really informed about the buffers, additives, and preservatives they put in those vaccines people would be a lot more cautious about getting them.