Can you get shingles from the flu shot?The short answer is no.
The longer answer is below, and will help you filter through the information and misinformation you might have heard about a possible connection between shingles and the flu shot.
Facts about the Flu and the Flu Shot
Health Canada describes influenza as a viral infection that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, it is estimated that between 1976 and 2007 the number of those who caught the flu ranged between a low of 3,000 to a high of 49,000 people.
During a normal flu season (October to May) 90 percent of deaths associated with the flu occur in people aged 65 years and over.(1)
The traditional flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses – the human H1N1 strain and the H3N2 strain – and one influenza B virus. The vaccines contain an inert version of the virus so that you don’t get the symptoms or pass the virus to others. However, your body develops antibodies towards those strains, giving most people complete immunity from those virus strains.
There is still the chance that you can get the flu even if you have had the flu shot. The hope is that because you’ve had the flu shot, your symptoms won’t be as severe, and the duration of your illness will be shorter than without the vaccine.
You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. Again, the flu vaccine contains a “dead” version of the virus that does not infect or cause symptoms. In some cases, people have already been exposed to the virus and don’t know it.
Symptoms can appear one to four days after exposure. It takes two weeks for your body to develop flu antibodies from the flu shot.
Facts about Shingles
Shingles is caused by a completely different virus than Influenza. It is actually caused by varicella-zoster virus -- the same virus which also causes chickenpox.