Q&A: The basics of flu shots

September 29, 2016 10:20 PM

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The flu kills anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people a year, mostly those over 65, under 2 or who have weakened immune systems. But the flu is also unpredictable and can cause severe illness even in healthy people, said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, Frieden said, a young woman in his office caught the flu and told him she was terrified she was dying. “Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable. Flu often gets not enough respect,” he said in a Thursday morning news conference. To prevent widespread infections and provide what’s called herd immunity, about 70% of the American public needs to get vaccinated, according to CDC targets.

No. It’s impossible to catch the flu from the vaccine, because there is only dead virus in the shot. The nasal spray vaccine did contain live virus, but is not available this year. People may mistake side effects of the vaccine – muscle aches and low fever – for the flu itself, said Nicole Bouvier, ...

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