Q&A: Can I Get the Flu From a Flu Shot?

Question: I once got a flu shot and then came down with the flu afterward. Now I won’t get the shot anymore. Why did the shot give me the flu?

Woman getting the flu shot

What You Need to Know About the H1N1 Vaccine

H1N1 vaccine

We’ve received a number of questions and concerns about the swine flu and the H1N1 vaccine. Indeed, a new survey by the Harvard School of Public Health finds that six in ten adults are not “absolutely certain” they will get the H1N1 vaccine, citing concerns over side effects, lack of perceived risk and belief that they could receive medication if they do get sick [1]. Just over half of parents surveyed report being “absolutely certain” they well get the vaccine for their children. To help disseminate credible information on the H1N1 vaccine and provide additional sources for review, we’ve put together a list of questions and answers addressing what you need to know about the H1N1 vaccine.

The Flu, Your Health and the Importance of Vaccination

The flu season runs from November to April, with most cases occurring between late December and early March. About 10% to 20% of people get the flu every winter [1]. In children, the odds are even worse, with up to 40% of children becoming clinically ill due to the influenza virus.

The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a flu vaccination. Hospitalization and death from flu complications pose real risks. Every year, on average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and approximately 36,000 people die from the flu [2].

Additionally, immunizing children against influenza is perhaps the best method to reduce the occurrence of the flu in the community. If children receive the flu shot but the rest of the family abstains, the influenza attack rate drops by 40%; if parents also get the flu shot, the influenza attack rate drops by 80% [3].