Can the ‘flu shot’ cause influenza? That’s a question that arises every year when those who’ve been vaccinated end up having the same symptoms they were trying to avoid.
The answer is multi-faceted. While the viral strains of the injected influenza vaccine are unlikely to cause those symptoms, the live strains in Flumist, the nasal spray vaccine, certainly may. Moreover, influenza virus is by no means the only ‘bug’ associated with influenza-like symptoms.
In a 2010 Cochrane review, Dr. Tom Jefferson and fellow researchers explain: “Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny noses). Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot tell the two illnesses apart. Both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness. At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10 per cent of all circulating viruses.”
Dr. Peter Doshi, another influenza researcher with the Cochrane Collaboration, states: “Most flu is not influenza, and marketing influenza vaccine as a ‘flu shot’ misleads the public into holding overoptimistic views of vaccine benefit.”
Why is so much time, energy and money being used to promote a vaccine with so little benefit?
Susan Fletcher, Sechelt