Contracting influenza is not the same as contracting the “flu“, as people erroneously assume. When you come down with the flu, i.e. what most people consider being the flu, it is generally a banal infection due to viruses which are accompanied by fever, cough, cold, fatigue, etc. It is markedly different than influenza which is accompanied by very high fever and which can lead to serious complications. The risk of complications is mainly for people who are older than 65 year or for people who have chronic illnesses.
Since 2004 the influenza vaccination was included in the official vaccination recommendation for children. It will remain to be seen when the vaccination recommendation will be included in German speaking countries.
Side effects of influenza vaccination
Various neurological diseases such as optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve), Multiple Sclerosis or Transverse Myelitis (NAKAMURA N. NEUROLOGIC COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH INFLUENZA VACCINATION: TWO ADULT CASES. INTERN MED. 2003 FEB;42(2):191-4 ) Brachial neuritis, Guilain-Barré-Syndrome (the total risk of falling ill with the so-called Guilain-Barré-Syndrome ( GBS) is four times higher than after a dT-vaccination, for a severe course of GBS even 8 times higher (GEIER MR. INFLUENZA VACCINATION AND GUILLAIN BARRE SYNDROME SMALL STAR, FILLED. CLIN IMMUNOL. 2003 MAY;107(2):116-21. )) or paralysis of the cranial nerves were seen in a time-related context with the vaccination.(BAG:Empfehlungen zur Grippeprävention August 2000)
For more information, please see:Influenza vaccination