You cannot get the flu from the flu shot.
The annual flu shot is made with an inactive flu virus that is not
infectious making it impossible to get the flu from the flu shot.
“If you get the flu following your flu shot, you were most likely already exposed to the flu virus and in the process of getting sick,” notes American Board of Family Medicine certified physician, Dr. Andrei Androssov.
The timing of the flu season is unpredictable and can vary from year to year; however, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get your flu vaccine by late October, although you can still get it later. Flu season can begin as early as October and last until May in some cases, although the peak of flu season is from December to March.
“The flu vaccine takes two weeks to form antibodies that protect you from the flu,” said Dr. Adrossov. “That is why it’s important to get vaccinated prior to the onset of flu season.”
The flu shot can cause mild side effects, such as soreness, that are sometimes mistaken for flu. Life-threatening side effects from an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine are extremely rare and will most likely occur within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the shot. Be sure to let your physician know if you have any allergies, such as an egg allergy, or if you are allergic to any other ingredients found in the flu shot. If you experience an allergic reaction, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
“The flu vaccine is the single most effective way to protect yourself from the flu virus,” said Dr. Androssov. “Unless you have a severe allergy to the flu vaccine or its ingredients, everyone six months and older should receive the flu vaccine each year and people over the age of 65 should receive the Fluzone high-dose vaccine.”
Keep in mind you can still have flu symptoms after receiving the flu shot from other non-flu related viruses, additional strands of the virus that are not included in the vaccine, and exposure to the virus prior to the vaccine kicking in.
For more information on the flu vaccine, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. To schedule an appointment with Family Medicine physician, Dr. Androssov, call (850) 863-6600.