5 Top Flu Vaccine Myths

Separating fact from fiction during flu shot season

Vaccine needle

It’s flu season — time to get your flu shot if you haven’t already.

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“Getting vaccinated against influenza every year is a proactive way for an individual to maintain their own health and the health of their family.  Influenza vaccine is safe and the best way to prevent the flu,” says infectious disease physician Thomas Fraser, MD.

Here are five common myths and truths about the flu vaccine:

girl sneezingMyth 1: A flu shot will give me the flu

The flu shot is killed virus that is unable to cause disease.  Flu mist cripples the virus so that it is unable to cause disease.

bicep curlMyth 2: If I get vaccinated twice, I’ll get added immunity

Research has not demonstrated a benefit of receiving more than one dose during an influenza season, even among elderly persons with weakened immune systems. Except for some children, only one dose of flu vaccine is recommended each season.

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apple weights and waterMyth 3: I’m healthy, so I don’t need the flu vaccine

There are those that are high risk to develop severe complications or even die from influenza, especially those with certain medical conditions.  Some people think they are healthy and don’t need the shot.  However, even a routine case of influenza can result in several days of missed work and school.  You may be healthy, but others around you may not be.  If you get the flu, you could pass it to those who are at risk for complications from disease and at risk of not responding well to the vaccine.  This includes infants, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions. 

2012 calendarMyth 4: I got a flu vaccine last year, so I don’t need one again this year

Your body’s level of immunity from a vaccine received last season declines over time. To be sure you are protected, you should get vaccinated every year. Also, the flu vaccine is not identical year after year – the vaccine is designed to protect against the three viruses that research suggests are likely to circulate with each season.

pregnant bellyMyth 5: If I’m pregnant, getting the flu vaccine will hurt my baby

Influenza vaccination during pregnancy actually protects newborns from getting influenza. Pregnant women who get influenza vaccine pass their immunity to their babies in the form of flu antibodies. This protection lasts for several months after birth. Influenza protection has been noted in newborns up to 4 months old. However, babies born to women who were not vaccinated during pregnancy showed no antibody protection.

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