What’s true about flu
Here are the top seven myths we’re hearing about flu shots. And why the truth will make you feel better.
Myth 1: “I can get the flu from the flu shot”
Truth: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no form of the flu vaccine will give you the flu. Some people do have mild symptoms after receiving the vaccine, which is normal. These symptoms may last a few hours or up to a day, but it's not flu illness. After you receive the shot, it can take about two weeks for the body to build up protection against flu viruses.
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: “I DON’T NEED A FLU SHOT IF I’VE HAD THE FLU”
Truth: Viruses that cause the flu change every year. The strain of flu you caught last year won’t be the same as the one you’d 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 3: “I DON’T NEED THE FLU SHOT IF I’M FULLY VACCINATED FOR COVID-19”
Truth: COVID-19 vaccines can only protect you from getting COVID-19, and flu vaccines can only protect you from getting the flu. Additionally, if you’ve had COVID-19 or the flu, you’re not protected from either virus. Flu vaccines are specifically designed to help reduce the risk of catching and spreading the flu virus, being hospitalized, or dying. Learn more about the benefits of getting a flu shot.
Myth 4: “Flu vaccinations aren’t safe for kids”
Truth: For most children ages six months and older, getting a flu shot is not only safe, it’s critical. Children under five years old are the most vulnerable, so the sooner they get a flu shot, the better. If your child has a compromised immune system or ongoing health challenges, talk to your doctor about which vaccine is right for your child.
Myth 5: “The flu shot only protects against a limited number of strains so there is no point to get a flu shot”
Truth: It's still critical to get the flu shot. While it's true that the flu shot only protects against a limited number of strains, they are the most common strains expected for the current flu season, as determined by extensive, ongoing research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more about the different flu strains.
Myth 6: “THE FLU IS JUST A BAD COLD”
Truth: Flu symptoms, such as a sore throat, runny nose, and cough, can be similar to a bad cold, but the flu virus is much more dangerous than the common cold. According to the CDC, the flu caused 18 million medical visits, 410,000 hospitalizations, and 24,000 deaths during the 2019-2020 flu season. Getting a flu shot helps prevent getting the flu, and decreases the chance of severe symptoms if you do get it.
Myth 7: “I FEEL HEALTHY, SO I DON’T NEED A FLU SHOT”
Truth: Anyone can catch the flu, even people who are feeling healthy and have no health issues. Healthy people who catch the flu can still end up in bed for a week, or miss time from work. The CDC recommends annual flu shots for everyone older than six months of age, including those who are pregnant.