A Answers (5)
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answeredIt's very rare that people who receive the flu vaccine develop serious problems as a result. The most common side effects from seasonal flu vaccine are soreness, tenderness, redness, and swelling where the shot was given. Some people who get the nasal spray vaccine develop nasal congestion.
The flu vaccine is safe for almost everyone. Muscle aches, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may occur six to 12 hours after getting the vaccine, but they are rare. Persons who are severely allergic to eggs should consult an allergy specialist prior to receiving the flu vaccine.
The vaccine is only recommended for children older than six months of age. If you have an infant under the age of six months, or if you have a child with a high-risk condition, the rest of your family should get flu vaccines. Flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and is recommended to protect your newborn.
51% of customers who responded to a CVS pharmacy survey say they will not get the vaccine this year. The top two reasons cited by those who will not get vaccinated are:
- Concern about potential side effects
- Not being sure that the vaccine really works
The CDC maintains that getting a flu shot is the single most effective way to protect you from the yearly virus, and its possible associated complications. The flu vaccine cannot sicken you with the virus, because the viruses used are attenuated, meaning inactivated. You can get local side effects at the injection site – redness, soreness, and swelling – which typically disappear in a day or two. A mild, low grade fever can also occur, that usually subsides in a day or two. Few people who receive the shot develop any serious complications, and many lives can be saved with good vaccine rates.
David L. Katz, MD,MPH, Integrative Medicine, answeredThe flu vaccination really is the best tried-and-true advice there is for preventing influenza. But the road to that conclusion runs anything but straight. Among the roadblocks, there are, for starters, the numerous conspiracy theorists -- highly loquacious on the Internet -- who contend not only that flu vaccination is overtly dangerous, but that there is a systematic effort to delude the public about those dangers. Even readers who are not entirely convinced that the CDC is genocidal in its recommendation that everyone over 6 months of age be vaccinated are given pause by such allegations.
One good reason for this hesitation is that for a vaccine to do you any good, you need to get it while feeling fine. This is quite different from, say, an operation that is much more dangerous but easily justified by an obviously broken limb, plugged-up gall bladder or occluded arteries. It can be hard to talk yourself into rolling up your sleeve and getting jabbed with a needle while feeling healthy (even if you are not particularly worried about a government conspiracy).
The truth, though, is that the influenza vaccine is many, many times safer than the flu itself. That does not mean the flu is a plague, nor that the vaccine is perfectly safe. Nothing in medicine and little in life is perfectly safe. Harm from the flu vaccine is possible, but a highly remote risk. For what it may be worth to make this personal, I readily accept that “risk” every year -- for myself, my wife and my children.
The flu shot is safe in the vast majority of people. Children can start getting the flu shot at six months old. Even people with egg allergies can get the flu shot. Pregnant women can get the flu shot. Your doctor will know your medical history and be able to tell you if the flu shot is safe for you.