Question

Vaccines & Immunizations

Can the nasal spray flu vaccine give me the flu?

A Answers (3)

  • A Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    The nasal spray flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. While it is made with live virus (as opposed to the killed virus used to make flu shots), the virus is weakened and designed only to infect areas where temperatures are cooler, such as the nose. It cannot infect the inside of your body, which is warmer. People tend to experience a few more side effects with the nasal vaccine than after a flu shot. Side effects can include a runny nose, sore throat, and headache.
  • AElise McCormack, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    You cannot get the flu from the nasal spray flu vaccine. The viruses contained in the nasal spray flu vaccine are attenuated (weakened), which means they cannot cause flu illness. Common side effects from the nasal spray vaccine are usually mild and include a cough, nasal congestion or a runny nose.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the nasal spray vaccine for healthy children ages 2 to 8, when possible. If the nasal spray vaccine is not immediately available and the flu shot is, vaccination should not be delayed and a flu shot should be given.
  • ADiana Blythe, MD, Pediatrics, answered on behalf of Pediatric Associates

    The nasal spray flu vaccine does not give you the flu. Because it is a live virus vaccine, although weakened, you may feel some effects like congestion in your nose. This is not the flu, but rather local effects of the vaccine at the cooler temperatures of your nose.

    For people who are bothered by even these effects, try getting the flu shot instead!

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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