Verify: Can the flu shot make you sick?

Many people think a flu shot can make you a little sick.  But is that true? At Verify, I've gotten that question a few times.

Many people think a flu shot can make you a little sick. But is that true? At Verify, I’ve gotten that question a few times.

For answers, I reviewed government reports, academic research and talked to Dr. Trish Perl, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at University of Texas Southwestern.

“I think it’s a fairly commonly held belief that you can get sick from getting the flu shot,” I said.

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“It's very, very rare,” she said.

“How many people we talking about, in terms of percentage this could happen?” I asked.

“One, two percent. A small percent,” Perl answered. “It's rare. It's not never,” she said.

This study from the Journal of American Medicine found, the only reported difference between people who get a flu shot versus people who got a placebo was "arm soreness" and "redness at the injection site".

The Centers for Disease Control concludes there are "no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat."

On top of that, Dr. Perl says the idea of the flu shot is about more than just your health.

“If we vaccinate a large number of the population that vaccinating that large number actually protects the entire population. It's what we call a herd effect,” Perl said.

This study on the herd effect, in the Journal of American Medicine found: "Immunizing children and adolescents… significantly protected unimmunized residents".

Perl says, herd immunity can save the lives of the sick and elderly who are among the tens of thousands of Americans who die each year from the flu.

So, the bottom line is… beyond a sore arm, there is no evidence the flu shot makes you sick.

Stop being a baby, join the herd, get your flu shot.

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