The Honest Truth About Whether the Flu Shot Can Make You Sick

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Everyone's least-favorite season has arrived: flu season. Preparation can include stocking up on hand sanitizer, soft tissues, and of course the annual flu shot. But getting vaccinated isn't on everyone's to-do list—in part because many people think it actually gives you the flu. In fact, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital surveyed 700 parents and found more than half of them believed the flu shot could make you sick.

We spoke to Lisa Maragakis, MD, MPH, Senior Director of Infection Prevention at Johns Hopkins Health System and Associate Professor of Medicine for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, to ask her one simple question: Can the flu shot make you sick? According to Dr. Maragakis—and the CDC, and every other flu expert on the planet—the answer is flat-out no. "It's not a live virus vaccine," says Dr. Maragakis. "It's a killed or inactivated virus and can’t make you sick."

 

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