MadSci Network: Immunology

Subject: Flu vaccine

Posted by ivette emery
Grade level: other
School: Swarthmore College
City: Swarthmore State/Province: PA
Country: USA
Area of science: Immunology
A co-worker told me that if you get the flu shot and you are unlucky enough to get the flu because of a strain that was not in the vaccine mix your body is less capable of fighting this flu than if you had not gotten the vaccine at all. She also said that the probablitity of this happening was 50%. That is, if you get the flu there is a 50% chance the strain causing it is a new one and the vaccine will not only not protect you but harm you. Is this true? I don't know much about immunology but this doesn't make sense to me. How can having B-cells and other white cells ready to fight a known foreign invador make you less capable of finding other white cells to fight an invador you have never seen before?


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