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Can Flu Vaccine Give Me Influenza?

By    |   Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 10:15 AM

Question: I had a flu shot in 1991 and I came down with the flu. I thought I was going to die. My temperature went to 104. It took me a month to get better. So I'm afraid to get a shot because of that. What do you suggest?
 
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
The influenza vaccine is a shot that offers protection against several strains of flu that are predicted by experts to be the predominant ones circulating in the upcoming season based on data obtained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, and others. Vaccination will prevent influenza in some and in others may make the illness simply less severe, and less likely to be hospitalizing or life threatening.
 
Many thousands of people around the globe die unnecessarily from influenza or complications annually — cases that are clearly preventable by widespread vaccination. Sadly, your vaccine didn't take. Despite the effectiveness of this vaccine for most people, there are some who should not be vaccinated, usually due to allergies to components involved in producing the vaccine (such as eggs) or because of pre-existing disease or treatments.
 
I suggest you discuss your experiences with your doctor and perhaps be sure you are not allergic to any of the flu vaccine’s components before being re-vaccinated. The vaccine we use now is attenuated so it cannot produce influenza disease, but it may cause brief mild influenza-like symptoms in some, but this is very rare.
 
Perhaps you had contracted the flu before getting your vaccine, but before the shot’s effectiveness (which can take a couple weeks) took hold. Also, you are now talking about a vaccine produced 23 years ago. The way vaccines are selected and produced has been fine-tuned over the past two decades so much so that I would reconsider your stance and consider vaccinating yourself after you are sure that you are not allergic to any of the components.
 
There may have been many other reasons for your lack of protection: Perhaps you were ill at the time of the vaccine preventing the shot from working effectively. We need to vaccinate at least three weeks before exposure to flu viruses to expect any reasonable protection, and in some cases — especially in children receiving the vaccine for the first time — a booster dose is required to produce adequate response.

Some medications — steroids, immune suppressants — can adversely affect the ability of the vaccine to take. Or perhaps the vaccine itself provided you insufficient protection because the flu strain you contracted was not one of the strains included in the shot. It’s also possible the components of the vaccine you received was stored or administered incorrectly,
 
Because of these uncertainties, you need to discuss these issues with your M.D.

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Dr-Hibberd
The flu vaccine cannot give you influenza, but a number of factors can explain how a person can come down with the virus after getting a shot.
flu, vaccine, influenza
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2014-15-04
Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 10:15 AM
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