Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.
When should I get vaccinated?
Flu vaccination should begin soon after vaccine becomes available. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated so they are protected before influenza begins spreading in their community.
Can I still get the flu even though I have been vaccinated?
Yes. There is a possibility you could get the flu even if you get vaccinated. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on various factors, including age and health status of the person being vaccinated, and the similarity or “match” between the viruses used to make the vaccine and those circulating in the community. If they are not closely matched, vaccine effectiveness can be reduced. However, it’s important to remember that even when the viruses are not closely matched, the vaccine can still protect many people and prevent flu-related complications.
Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines are made from dead viruses, or no viruses at all. While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of bad case of flu.
There are many vaccine options to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.