CDC – Recombinant Flu Vaccine
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are given with a needle (flu shots) are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been killed (inactivated) and are therefore not infectious, or b) with proteins from a flu virus (which is the case for the recombinant vaccine above). Nasal spray vaccine is made with weakened (attenuated) live flu viruses and also cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only reproduce at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot reproduce in the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.