in actual clinical trials, if you take 400 people and give them a flu shot, another 400 people get a saline injection, the ONLY side effect more common in the flu shot people is a sore injection site on the shoulder. (see reference)
The study is also very interesting to show the true power of the placebo effect. People who got a SALINE INJECTION (but who were told it was a flu shot) actually complained of all of the following:
fever - 6%
fatigue - 19% !!!!!
feeling "under the weather" - 17% !!!
muscle aches - 6%
headaches - 14%
Isnt' that amazing ! remember that these people had a SALINE injection - it could not have possibly caused such symptoms, but the people thought that they should experience those symptoms, so the did !
By the way, the incidence of those side effects in the ACTUAL FLU SHOT recipients, in every case, was LESS than the incidence in the sailine group, but the differences were not statistically significant.
This study alone should prove that most of what people complain about with flu shots is really in their head. The vaccine is safer than a saline shot - except for a sore arm.
1. Nichol KL. NEJM 1995;333:889-93
I'm an infectious disease specialist - MD
just got my 18th annual flu shot last week, and gave my 4- and 5-year olds their shots 2 weeks ago -- not a problem.
· 1 decade ago