I noticed a strange occurrence around this time 2 years ago when I suddenly developed flu like symptoms a couple days after getting my flu shot. I thought of it as a strange coincidence, that was, up until the exact same thing happened the following year; I got the flu shot, waited a couple of days, and was then sick as a dog. I loved telling people the story, and in doing so, I got a lot of people who responded that they too had seemingly contracted the flu after getting the shot. What was up with that? I thought the whole point of a vaccine was to inject your body with dead germs, so that your immune system makes antibodies to destroy these germs, essentially to train our immune system. So why did it seem like they had infected me, and other people with live germs?
An article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lists the statistic that the influenza vaccine lowers the risk of contracting the flu by 50 to 60 percent. Personally, that didn’t seem like a very high number to me. If I had been told before getting a flu shot that getting this shot would only reduce my risk by half, I might’ve not even gotten the shot. The article goes on to list the benefits of getting the flu shot. It specifically states that the flu shot is much more effective for younger children, whose immune systems are stronger, and less effective for the elderly, whose immune systems are not as healthy.
In a different article from WebMD, they remind us that perhaps it wasn’t the flu you contracted after the flu shot, but instead a different cold or virus. That very well could have been the case for me, as I really just self-diagnosed myself with the flu, jumping to conclusions that it was beyond the common cold. Yet it STILL seemed peculiar to me that two years in a row I just so happened to get it after getting the shot. It’s interesting to note that most vaccines come with a list, sometimes a quite extensive list, of side effects. Everything from the HPV vaccine, to the Flu vaccine, to the chicken pox vaccine can cause fever, headache, or nausea. It is also interesting to note that under problems for the chicken pox vaccine lists a possible rash for up to a month for 1 out of every 25 people. Weird, it seems as though the chicken pox vaccine does the same thing that the influenza vaccine does, which is give people symptoms/side effects that are similar to what they are getting the shot to protect against in the first place. I think I had found my answer.
Essentially, vaccination results and effectiveness vary from person to person, immune system to immune system. Despite the list of side effects, and common occurrence of side effects, doctors and websites still praise the flu vaccine and its importance. For one, it is the most effective way to defend against disease and sickness. If you do happen to get the flu even though you got vaccinated, it will most likely be a milder case. Seems to me like this year I will still be getting the flu shot despite my unlucky history with the vaccine. It’s the best prevention against the flu we have, even if it’s side effects seem to make me sick. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s to read and be aware of the list of vaccination symptoms your vaccine has.