What’s true about flu
Here are the top six myths we’re hearing about flu shots. And why the truth will make you feel better.
Myth 1: "The flu shot will make me sick"
Truth: According to the CDC, no form of the flu vaccine will give you the flu. Some people do have a mild reaction to the injection. It may last a few hours or up to a day, but it is not flu illness. But it can take about two weeks for the body to build up protection against flu viruses after the shot. Until that resistance is built up, it’s still possible to catch the flu, but the shot itself doesn’t cause it.
See how vaccines work
How vaccines work
When a virus enters the body, it attempts to reproduce
A healthy immune system recognizes a virus as a foreign invader, and responds by making proteins called antibodies
Your antibodies seek to destroy the virus.
But if they are unfamiliar with the virus, they may be ineffective at fighting it.
You may develop fevers, inflammation, chills, pain & other serious symptoms that can even be fatal
If you recover, the antibodies remain in your body and help prevent future infection from the same virus
Vaccines, the greatest medical innovation of modern life, help you develop immunity safely, without getting sick
Vaccines are made from a tiny, safe amount of the virus that is either killed or weakened before it is injected via a shot
Vaccines are experts at training your body to make antibodies.
These antibodies are experienced fighters that can destroy viruses they recognize before you get sick again
Once a vaccine has trained your body to protect itself from a virus, you are immune to that virus
Myth 2: “It’s unsafe to leave my house during COVID-19 to get a flu shot”
Truth: Your doctor’s office and other medical providers have taken many steps to ensure safe practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also follow the CDC’s recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits. With these precautions in place, it’s safe to get your flu shot.
Myth 3: “If you’ve had the flu in the past, you’re immune”
Truth: Viruses that cause the flu change all the time. The flu you caught last year won’t be the same as the one you’ll catch this year. Likewise, last year’s vaccine won’t work on this year’s strains. With certain viruses, a vaccine can protect you for much longer periods. But that’s just not the case for the flu virus.
Myth 4: “I’m at high risk for COVID-19, so it’s too risky to get a vaccine”
Truth: If you’re vulnerable to COVID-19, then your risk for flu is also high. The good news - any vaccination location following CDC’s guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine. So, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they’re following CDC’s vaccination pandemic guidance. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center to learn more about your care options during the pandemic.
Myth 5: “Flu vaccinations aren’t safe for kids”
Truth: For most children ages six months and older, getting a flu shot is critical. The sooner, the better. That’s why this year, the state of Massachusetts requires all children and students without extenuating health circumstances to get a shot (or vaccine type) before the end of the year. If your child has a compromised immune system or ongoing health challenges, talk to your doctor about whether the vaccine is right for your child.
Myth 6: “The flu shot only protects against a limited number of many strains, so there’s no point to get one.”
Truth: Your flu vaccine protects against the most common strains expected for the upcoming season as determined by extensive, ongoing research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more about the different flu strains and how vaccines are designed.