Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 11:54 am

It’s vaccine season. Unlike any other year, South Africans are mulling over two vaccines this year

While we’re making our minds up about it or when we are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, it is also flu vaccine season.

What happens when you take the flu vaccine? Do you still get the flu? Do you get sick immediately afterwards? 

What happens the day you get your flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is like any other injection. It will sting and might hurt a little for a few days afterwards. The injection site might also feel warm to the touch.

While some people complain about tiredness, headaches, muscle aches and mild cold symptoms after getting vaccinated, according to the CDC, a blind study showed that people injected with a placebo also experienced the same side effects.

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Because there is no major side effect to getting a flu vaccine, there is no need to take time out to rest or recover after getting vaccinated. 

The flu vaccine will not prevent a cold

The flu vaccine injects an inactive flu virus into your system straining your immune system to recognise and fight the flu before it makes you sick. 

This training can take up to two weeks. 

According to Harvard Health, the only way to be infected with the flu is by coming into contact with the influenza virus. Although the vaccine cannot prevent this contact, being vaccinated means your body can recognise and destroy the virus before you feel sick.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get sick at all, people who have had the flu vaccine could also be infected with the cold. 

Why you should get vaccinated every year

Viruses, including the influenza virus that causes the flu is always mutating and changing, this means your previous vaccine may not be effective for the current flu strain. 

Although the different strains of flu are related, your immune system may not recognise a strain different from the one you’ve been vaccinated for. 


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