Myth vs. Fact: The Flu Shot


Dr. Jason Sellers

It’s officially that time of year for flu shots and updated COVID-19 boosters. Do you have hesitations? We’re here to discuss some of the myths regarding flu vaccines.

A child's teddy bear wearing a medical face mask

MYTH: Last year I got the flu shot and it gave me the flu.

FACT: The flu vaccine is made with an inactivated virus, so it is impossible for it to infect someone with the flu. It does cause an immune response which can include fatigue, body aches, and feeling feverish, but that usually only lasts a day or two and is the body’s way of getting prepped to fight the flu in the future.

MYTH: The flu vaccine doesn’t work, so why bother getting it.

FACT: Efficacy levels are measured each year by the CDC and are usually in the 30-50% range depending on the year. However, if you’ve had the flu, you probably know that anything you can do to lower your chances of getting it is worth it.

MYTH: I’m young and healthy and don’t need the flu shot.

FACT: As many young and healthy people can attest after having had COVID-19, these viruses can still knock you down for a while even if the overall risk of severe symptoms is lower. There is also unfortunately a small subset of young healthy people every year who will develop severe symptoms and require hospitalization due to the flu.

MYTH: I am pregnant and should not get the flu vaccine.

FACT: The flu vaccine has been around for a very long time and has an excellent safety record. It is safe and recommended in pregnancy. Because pregnant women have a slightly weakened immune system, they are at higher risk of complications should they get the flu.

MYTH: I cannot get my flu shot because I’m getting a COVID-19 booster.

FACT: The flu shot can be given at the same time as the new bivalent COVID-19 booster! Getting both will give you maximum protection against the most common circulating strains of flu and COVID-19 this season.

MYTH: The flu vaccine is all I need to protect myself against infection.

FACT: While vaccines are helpful at preventing infection, the first line of defense as we have learned during the pandemic is reducing our other risk factors. This includes staying distanced from or wearing a mask around people who are sick, as well as washing hands frequently and especially before eating.

We hope that this was informative, and if you are still on the fence about getting the flu vaccine feel free to chat with your Radish doctor. And most importantly, schedule your flu shot (and COVID-19 booster) today!

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