“I’m too busy.”
“I’m healthy.”
“It’ll give me the flu!”

Maybe you’ve heard these excuses when it comes to getting a flu shot. There are many reasons why people avoid getting flu shots. Don’t let these myths stop you from getting vaccinated this year!

Myth: Only sick people need a flu vaccine.

Truth: Even healthy people need a flu vaccine.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease. It can lead to serious illnesses, like pneumonia. Even healthy people who contract the flu can get sick enough to miss work or school or even be hospitalized. The annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone who is six months or older.

Some people are at an increased risk of complications from the flu. Getting a flu vaccine every year is even more important for people who belong to these groups:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Older people
  • People with certain chronic medical conditions

Myth: The flu vaccine is dangerous.

Truth: The flu vaccine is safe.

Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely been vaccinated against the flu during the past 50 years. There is ongoing research supporting the safety of seasonal flu vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other partners to ensure that flu vaccines are being produced safely.

Myth: The flu vaccine has extreme side effects.

Truth: Common flu vaccine side effects are mild, and they are rare.

The vaccine doesn’t cause the flu. Some people who get the flu vaccine experience mild side effects that are flu-like. These may include soreness, redness and/or swelling, headache, fever, muscle aches, and nausea. These side effects aren’t the flu! If experienced at all, side effects are mild and last two days at the most.

Myth: I don’t need a flu vaccine because even if I get the flu, I’ll recover quickly.

Truth: Anyone can catch the flu and experience complications.

The flu can be serious and anyone can feel its effects, including active and healthy people. Even if you recover quickly, the people around you might not. You could spread the flu to someone who is more vulnerable to it. Some people are infected with the flu virus but don’t have symptoms. Because they feel fine, they may not change their routines to protect those around them. The flu can spread during this time.

Myth: I can get vaccinated when the flu hits my community.

Truth: It’s safest to get vaccinated before the flu starts spreading.

It takes about two weeks for a vaccine to become effective. During those two weeks, antibodies that protect against the flu are developing in the body. Since the flu vaccine isn’t immediately effective, the sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you will be protected, which is important when the flu begins to spread in your community.

Myth: Flu vaccines cause the flu.

Truth: A flu vaccine can’t give you the flu.

Flu vaccines can’t give you the flu. Here are the reasons that you still get the flu or a flu-like illness after getting a flu vaccine:

  • You were exposed to another virus. The flu vaccine only prevents illnesses caused by flu viruses. It can’t prevent other viruses. Some viruses that aren’t the flu have similar symptoms.
  • You were exposed to the flu after you got vaccinated and before the vaccine was effective. It takes two weeks after you receive the vaccine for your body to build protection against the flu.
  • You were exposed to a flu virus that wasn’t included in this year’s vaccine. The yearly vaccine is developed to protect against flu viruses that research indicates will be the most prevalent that season. Other flu viruses can still circulate.
  • You were vaccinated and still got sick. The effectiveness of the vaccine varies from season to season. Its effectiveness also relies on who is vaccinated. If you get a vaccine and get sick, your illness may be milder than if you didn’t get vaccinated.

Myth: Flu vaccines are painful.

Truth: The minor pain of a vaccine is nothing compared to the suffering the flu can cause.

Don’t put off your vaccinations because you dislike shots. Whatever discomfort you feel from the side effects of the flu shot is worth it to avoid getting the flu. Unvaccinated, you risk getting the flu, being hospitalized, or spreading the virus.

Myth: I don’t need a flu vaccine this year because I got one last year.

Truth: You need a flu vaccine every year.

The flu vaccine may change from year to year to include inoculations against flu viruses. You’ll need the current vaccination for the best protection. Also, your immunity from a vaccine declines over time. Yearly vaccination is needed to remain protected.

Ready for your flu shot?

We have flu shots available at all locations. To schedule a flu shot for your children or yourself, use the patient portal or call (662) 256-9331 to request an appointment.