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Getting a flu shot will make me sick?


Autumn is the suggested time to get vaccinated for the flu. However, will getting vaccinated make a person sick? What’s the risk of not getting a flu shot, and who should be most concerned about getting vaccinated?

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A flu vaccination has only a small chance of making you sick and if it does the symptoms will probably not be nearly as bad as if you got the flu. Vaccines are made from real microorganisms but are much less dangerous than the precursor. The vaccine form will be either killed or attenuated. In both cases it does not have the full effect of a wild microbe. The killed bug is not capable of infecting you and the attenuated one can only reproduce very slowly if at all. The purpose of the vaccine is not to infect you but to provoke your immune system into producing antibodies that are then capable of dealing with the wild bug.

Some of the reactions produced by vaccines are due to ingredients other than the dead or weakened microbe, for example some are cultured in eggs and a small amount of egg protein may be in the vaccine. If you are allergic to egg you will get a reaction. These kinds of reactions are played up by critics of vaccines.

Some cases where people refuse vaccination may be in good faith. For example through a misunderstanding of statistics doubters may not realise that the potential benefits of vaccines greatly exceed the potential harm. Some objections lack good faith and repeat claims of harm that have been clearly and rigorously debunked. Saying that your child will get autism if vaccinated is in the second category.

A small number of people will get some symptoms from a flu shot but we should not hold back on account of that (unless your doctor says so) because the real thing will be much worse. In the case of babies, those already ill and the elderly a full does of flu can kill and does so every winter.


Long story short for the busy among us:

You cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine. If you happen to come down with sickness straight after getting the vaccine, it came from something else for two reasons:

  • flu virus can take up to 8 days incubate before you portray symptoms (so you likely picked it up before getting the shot), and
  • the vaccine holds dead or weakened viruses that do not affect you like a wild virus.


Got one just before lunch today at my place of work. OK so far … :wink:


I’ve never had a flu shot (no real intention too until much later in life etc), just let my immune system deal for the most part and maybe every 4-5 years endure a couple of days when I do come down with the flu (well to a degree where I am taking sick leave).

Once you start you have to keep taking the flu shot annually do you not?


No you don’t need to keep taking it. it is a choice. Just because you had a vaccination doesn’t make you more susceptible to getting the flu and so if you stop you are no worse off than you were before you had it. In fact you are somewhat better protected because of the residual benefits.

The benefits or reasons for when we are healthy for having the vaccination:

  • we are much less likely to get the flu strains that are in the vaccine (range is between generally 40 to 60% less likely per year)
  • if we get the flu after vaccination, symptoms are mostly very much milder than if we didn’t have the vaccine
  • we help protect the people we cough, sneeze, and talk around, from getting the flu who don’t get vaccinated even if they can (herd immunity)
  • we help protect the people who cannot be vaccinated (again herd immunity). This is very important because many times we don’t know we have the flu if we are generally healthy and are not vaccinated and we still will infect anyone who is not protected around us even though we have no or very mild symptoms. By not vaccinating we can infect someone who then gets very ill and hospitalised or dies from the flu.
  • we develop some immunity to other flu viruses that are close to the strains in the vaccines

The ones in the vaccine change year by year but generally carry a H1N1 strain (type A flu), a H3N2 strain (type A flu), and a B type which this year I think it is B/Brisbane type same as the US vaccine. If you get the quadrivalent (4 strains) it contains the two same A types and the B type plus one other B type generally based on the Hong Kong variety but it does vary.

As we get older the vaccine is not as effective in granting protection. There is now an over 65 injection based on the 3 strain vaccine that has much more of the inactivated flu viruses than the normal vaccine. This helps boost the immune system reaction but is also more likely to generate reaction symptoms such as muscle soreness, a fever, swelling at the injection site and a few others. This is also why more healthy and younger people should get vaccinated as it helps protect the more vulnerable elderly people.


After what happened last flu season with seemly healthy adults and so very sadly children dying from a preventable sickness I think you would be very short sighted if you didn’t take preventative action. Have been having an annual shot since the late 90’s when it was offered by my employer and thankfully haven’t had the flu since. It wont stop a bad cold but flu, no thanks.


I had my (high strength) flu shot about ten days ago and didn’t feel a thing or have any reaction to it… I’m an aged pensioner so I would have thought that I’d be more likely to have a reaction than someone younger (and fitter)…


Some people don’t react and if you didn’t that’s a great outcome :slight_smile:


No, there are no ill effects of ceasing other than missing out on the immunity to the new strain. You do get a small amount of carry-over immunity to the strain going this year from your vaccinations of previous years, depending on how similar the strains are, but getting the vaccine each year is still important as the virus mutates all the time. I recommend that you keep it up as regardless of age your resistance will be better with it than without.


Best thing I ever did. My wife sometimes doesn’t get one and suffers. I have never been sick since starting 10 years ago.


A flu vaccination will not make you sick with influenza
Killed viruses in a vaccination cannot be miraculously brought back to life to make you sick.
Attenuated viruses (attenuated means - damaged, weakened, less vigorous) in a vaccine are capable of capable of stimulating an immune response and creating immunity, but not of causing illness.
A flu vaccination may cause a short-lived local reaction (eg sore arm) for a bit, but it will not cause influenza.


Whether you are in a category that gets the flu shot for free or whether you have to pay for it, getting the flu shot each year is good insurance against losing days & weeks to illness due to influenza.


Do you believe in the use of anti-biotics and also people having a yearly flu vaccination ?


antibiotics are essential. they are a godsend for many illnesses. Flu vaccines? Get healthy, eat healthy, raise your immunity. If you get the flu do the right thing to get over it. If it develops and you need antibiotics take them and your immunity will be better next time perhaps. There is room for both natural remedies and prescribed medication - all in its correct place for each individual as they need it.


What about the babies who have an undeveloped immune system is it OK to expose them unnecessarily to a virus that can kill? What about the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, should they not get all the help possible?

Antibiotics are quite ineffective against the flu as it is a virus, antibiotics only work on bacteria. A person giving advice on health issues really ought to know that.

Yes your immunity will be better against the strain of flu that you get but that is little use as the flu mutates every year. The immunity from last year is not much good this year, that is why we get a new jab each season.

Please learn more and think it through before suggesting that we do not need to get flu vaccinations.


Healthy people dying is one of the outcomes of getting the flu…so I suppose it could be argued this is one way of getting over it.

The influenza virus does not discriminate when infecting someone…it doesn’t discriminate against race, socioeconomic status, health, age etc. Some factors, such as one with a lung diease, can however have higher risks of complications from the virus. Very healthy individuals can also have similar complications, however the risks are lower (but are not zero).

Generally healthy individuals may cope/recover better from the influenza virus, however, a person’s response to the virus can vary enormously due to a lot of factors outside their control, such as genetic disposition, health condition at the time of infection (say one already has a cold or other common unpreventable diease) and post infection contacts which can cause secondary diseases like pneumonia.

While the flu vaccination is not the magic bullet, it does reduce the risk of infection from the most virallent forms of the flu known at the start of the flu season.

If one thinks that getting healthy, eating healthy, raising your immunity… is the hest and only way to prepare for the winter flu season, this approach goes against well established medical and scientific evidence. The later evidence includes ‘The administration of influenza vaccine is the single most important measure in preventing or attenuating influenza infection and preventing mortality.’

Believing being healthy is all one needs, is something that antivaccination supporters think prevent one getting many preventable diseases. Unfortunately past generations (before vaccinations were ‘invented’) possibly ate healthier (food was organic, fresh etc) and were possibly in many ways healthier than current generations, but this did not stop them being crippled or dying from these common, debilitating and (vaccination) preventable dieases.

Like @draughtrider outlined in another thread, I am concerned that you may have a hidden agenda or be in the ‘health remedy’ industry. It does not appear that you are impartial/have a balanced view to some of the discussion points in this topic.


I say this somewhat jokingly but if people refuse Flu vaccinations perhaps we need to then quarantine them from public life until they are no longer a danger to the public ie until they can no longer infect others or be infected by others. But the message underlying it is serious, if someone has German measles they are warned to keep out of contact with anyone who is pregnant and pregnant women are warned to avoid contact with infected people. If in the case of common measles, if it is detected the person/s are quarantined, and the same goes for many infectious diseases.

Flu is a killer, while for some it is mild, and others moderate in it’s severity, for some it is severe in it’s effects and is deadly in others. Some people in society are irresponsible and even selfish in their interactions with others they are among. They feel ok or they can cope so everybody else doesn’t count, yet if they infect someone they may have caused death, severe harm, or life long damage to any number of that population they wilfully spread disease in. If they walked through a crowd spaying it out of a can we would even possibly call it terrorism. If only they could be identified they could easily be charged with manslaughter or grievous bodily harm but because they are so “invisible” they carry out this infection unpunished.

Some simple acts could mitigate most if not all of this harm by people getting vaccinated and if infected by staying out of public contact until the infection has passed. The same goes for any disease where vaccination is possible, get vaccinated if you are able, be aware of the potential to hurt others and so take precautions to avoid infecting others including staying home if at all possible when infected. But some will continue to be self centred and will refuse to do these things because they are healthy, they only get a few symptoms that don’t worry them, they don’t care what others get, that “I’m all right and that’s all that matters” attitude.


the flu vaccine is full of junk according to my doctor. yes it may be ok if someone is really old and ill as they are full of drugs keeping them alive anyway so one more may help them. their immune system is impaired badly. many flus develop into bacteria infections very quickly in compromised immune systems therefore antibiotics is effective. that is what i meant by that.


The only appropriate rebuttal is some evidence.

While this one has a maybe, it is a maybe, not a would not have

and an example of a ‘conspiracy approach’