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How do flu vaccines work?

Flu vaccines (the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine) cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2011-2012 flu vaccine provides protection against the three main viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness this season. The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and an influenza B virus.

About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

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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.