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Vaccine Myths

flu-prevention4.jpg1. Myth: The flu shot will give you COVID-19.

Fact: There’s no way the flu vaccine can give you an entirely separate disease (according to the CDC). In fact, the flu shot can’t even give you the flu. Some people have mild symptoms after getting the vaccine, but even if they do, the symptoms don’t last long at all. Mild symptoms are the normal result of your body’s immune response to the vaccine. 

2. Myth: The flu shot will protect you from COVID-19.

Fact: There’s no evidence that flu shots can protect you from COVID-19, an entirely different disease. Having said that, the flu shot can help protect you from having the flu, which results is hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations a year and thousands of deaths. Plus, with the continued spread of COVID-19, experts warn that without proper precautions, we could experience a “twindemic” of both flu and COVID-19.

3. Myth: I got a flu shot last year so I don't need another.

Fact: It would be great if there could be a lifetime vaccination against the flu, but it just doesn’t work that way. Each year, the types of flu change, so researchers have to develop vaccines that match the specific strain of flu that’s occurring that year. Plus, the bodies' immune response from vaccination runs out over time. So, getting an annual flu shot is the best way to ensure we’re protected from the flu.

4. Myth: The flu shot will give me the flu.

Fact: Not true! The CDC explains why. Flu shots are made in two ways:

  • With inactive (dead) flu viruses that aren't infectious; or
  • With one gene from a flu virus, as opposed to the whole virus (which isn’t strong enough to cause an infection). 

So, even if you feel mildly achy after a flu shot, it's light years better than spending days in bed immobile because you didn’t get a flu vaccine and then came down with the actual flu.

5. Myth: The flu shot will make me more susceptible to other respiratory diseases.

Fact: One study from 2012 suggested that people who receive the influenza vaccination are at a greater risk for other diseases with symptoms like a runny nose and a sore throat. A lot of people heard about the preliminary finding, and word spread like wildfire that the connection was definitely true. Researchers were then prompted to delve deeper into the association, and numerous studies have since disproved the link.

The CDC states that medical professionals are unclear why the 2012 study suggested those results, but that it's not something to be concerned about whatsoever, and that it shouldn't deter you from getting your flu shot.

6. Myth: Getting the actual flu will make me immune.

Fact: We’ve all heard people say that they aren’t getting a vaccine because they’ll probably catch it anyway. They think once they get it, the immunity will cover them for the next time the flu comes around.

The CDC reports that this is a bad decision -- getting the flu comes with the risks of dehydration, hospitalization and other health complications, even if you're a relatively healthy person before getting sick. It's much better to get a flu shot and try and prevent the flu than to wait to catch it.

And for those who say “I never get the flu,” there’s always a first time!

7. Myth: I'm healthy, so I don't need a flu shot.

Fact: False. It is true that the risk of severe flu complications is higher if you have an underlying health condition, but even strong, healthy people can get very sick, even to the point of being hospitalized. Health experts recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot. Just because you’ve never had the flu doesn’t mean you can’t get it.

8. Myth: The flu shot doesn't even work.

Fact: Health experts will tell you that the flu shot isn’t perfect. But, even though it’s not 100% effective, wouldn’t you rather get the shot with the odds you could avoid the flu? Plus, flu shots have been proven to reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalizations. In recent years the vaccine reduced children's chances of landing in the ICU by 74% and adults by 40%.

9. Myth: It's too far into flu season to get the shot.

Fact: Even though experts suggest we get our flu shots early (Sept./Oct.), most agree that since the flu season can last until April, it’s not too late to be vaccinated, even if you’re finishing up your Christmas shopping.

10. Myth: Pregnant women shouldn’t be vaccinated.

Fact: Not true. It’s very important to be vaccinated when you are pregnant as the flu has been linked to miscarriages. There may be a rare case where your doctor would advise against it based on an underlying health condition, but for almost all women, it’s one of the more important ways you can protect yourself and your baby.

11. Myth: Kids should not get a flu shot.

Fact: False! Anyone over six months of age, particularly children, should get the flu shot. A 2017 study found that kids who got a flu shot had a significantly reduced risk of dying from flu related complications.

For more information on the flu vaccine, visit Flu Vaccine.

Page last updated: December 1, 2021