Article refers to an article that was originally posted at: (Health Canada) Does the flu shot work?
Below is a selection of reader comments on this article. (both pro and con - from protection to 'everybody gets the flu from the flu shot').

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Does the flu shot work?
Here is a selection of reader comments on this article.

How can it be guaranteed that the current vaccine will work to protect against the next flu that might come around this winter? It is my understanding that the flu changes each season and that the vaccines really are not quite up to the speed of change that the flu goes through. Therefore, it is only by chance that the vaccine is effective against the new flu strains.

Given that there are hundreds of flu viruses capable of infecting a population, it is a shot in the dark, to pick three, hoping that only one of these three will affect the population in any given flu season.

I have regularly received my flu shot for the past four years and have been flu free each of those years. While I believe a very small percentage of people have various reactions to the shots, I think there is much greater downside to the flu than to the vaccine. Thank you. And by the way, this appears to be an excellent Web site.

I know people who have become seriously ill with the flu for up to 2 weeks following the flu shot. I do not believe that they would have had the flu regardless of the shot. It happens too often when people have no sign of the flu before the shot. People end up taking time off work just as they would have had to if they got one flu in the winter. This has left me quite fearful of the shot as I do not want to risk being ill.

My son had two shots because he is only three. Now he has had the flu for a week straight. He gets sick every day. So, my opinion of the shot is not a very good one.

I am a healthy adult, age 53. I am concerned that in getting the flu shot, I will in effect weaken my immune system. In other words, if I do not get the flu shot, my own immune system becomes stronger by having to deal with the germs that it encounters. Rather like the overuse of antibiotics means that we end up with bacteria strains that we have no resistance to. Would not the widespread use of flu shots set us up for the same effects?

It was a painless inoculation, with virtually no side effects for me, with the exception of a slightly sore arm for a few hours after the shot. So far so good!

I agree that the flu shot is essential. I myself had been sick for years and heard a lot of bad things about the flu shot. My doctor told me it would be best for me as I have diabetes and a weak immune system. I decided to try it last year and always will: I can finally accumulate some sick days, which I never could before.

Congratulations on a job well done. (Vaccination) will be a boon to many sufferers from chronic middle ear, sinusitis infections as well as the general flu. I'm sure paramedical personnel are well vaccinated, but I hope you've advertised enough to people like bus drivers, social workers, teachers, police, etc.

I received the flu shot for the first time last week. That night, I woke up with a killer headache, and was off work for two days feeling miserable. I prefer the flu, thank you.

I have had the flu shot for the last 5 years. Since taking it I have found that my use of sick time has diminished considerably. I suffer no side effects other than soreness and itching around the injection site (that) normally disappears within a few days.

As a health care provider in the community, I think it is wonderful that the regions are taking an active role in providing this vaccine free and also promoting the organizations that are willing to promote prevention vs. treatment.

Only those who risk serious complications if they get the flu should be even interested in it, that is, those frail people over 65 years old. The flu vaccine should not be promoted like candy as it is currently begin done, especially for those people who may be still of child-bearing years. The simple hand-washing method is what should be promoted.

I think that the flu vaccine is fabulous. As a Dalhousie University nursing student I get so irritated when I hear people say, "Oh, I have a healthy immune system, I don't need a shot", meanwhile carrying the virus to immuno-compromised patients and enjoying herd immunity for themselves.

Normally I get one or two colds and maybe a flu a year if I am around sick people constantly. A few years ago I decided to take the flu shot. I was sick the whole year. Every time I was around someone that had a cold or a flu I got it too. Never had a flu shot since then.

Hope springs eternal. I've been diligently getting the flu shot every fall for years now. I've been unlucky for two years in a row, and have been hammered by a different strain. I won't stop getting the shot, however, if only because my mother, who is a nurse, hounds me until I do!

I am grateful that the Ontario Ministry of Health is providing flu vaccines free of charge. Working in a federal penitentiary, I neither want to introduce influenza into the captive population nor do I want to take the flu home with me from what can only be described as a very close working environment.

My company gave free flu vaccine early in the season. I had a little inconvenience but no fever, no big muscle pain. So, I am sold on the idea to receive the flu shot each year. After they received the vaccine, a lot of my companions were sick and have said no to the flu shot in the future.

Been taking the shot for a number of years and have yet to get the flu. Many co-workers tell me that all they hear is that every one who takes the shot gets the flu. How can we stop this urban myth?

I recommend the flu vaccine to all of my clients. The best protection against getting influenza is the vaccine. I have done several community presentations as well as presentations to my colleagues on the pros and cons. There are still people who are skeptical, however, I always present the facts and then it is their decision.

Health!Canada, November 2000