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No, the flu shot doesn't give you the flu.

Separating fact and fiction for the most common misconceptions about the flu

MYTH: The flu shot is unsafe. 

FACT: Flu vaccines have a good safety record.

Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines.

MYTH: You can get the flu from a flu shot.

FACT: Nobody gets the flu from the flu shot.

Any virus particles in the vaccine in a flu shot are dead or inactive, and can’t give you the flu. A small percentage of people may experience pain at the injection site, low-grade fever (usually under 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and body aches in the 1-2 days after their flu shot. These are not the same as having the actual flu (trust us, the actual flu is definitely worse!). 

MYTH: Vaccinations cause autism or other neurological disorders. 

FACT: There is no link between vaccinations and autism or other neurologic disorders.

The scientific community is very clear on this. There are over 30 studies confirming that there's no link between vaccinations and autism or any other neurologic disorders. In fact, vaccination can help prevent diseases that do cause neurologic disorders. 

MYTH: Healthy people don’t need a flu shot. 

FACT: Everyone should get a flu shot every year, especially healthy people.

Everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot every year, unless you have an allergy to the flu shot. Talk to your doctor first if you have had Guillain-Barre syndrome, have any life-threatening allergies, or if you’re not feeling well. Otherwise - go get a flu shot!

MYTH: Pregnant women shouldn’t get the flu shot. 

FACT: Pregnant women should get a flu shot to protect themselves and their developing babies.

Pregnant women are at increased risk if they do get the flu, so it’s important that they get vaccinated. 

MYTH: The flu vaccine doesn’t even really work very well. 

FACT: Flu vaccines really do reduce your risk of getting the flu.

There are lots of studies that show this. Everyone's risk of getting the flu is reduced by getting the shot. Even if there isn’t a perfect match between the viruses circulating and the year’s flu shot and you do get sick, you will have shorter and less severe illness if you've gotten the flu shot.

MYTH: The flu isn’t that bad. 

FACT: The flu hospitalized about 400,000 people and killed 22,000 in the 2019-2020 flu season.

18 million people went to see a healthcare provider due to the flu, and nearly 38 million had the flu. That’s just last year. It’s a very serious illness that makes people sick and kills people. 

MYTH: I should wait to get my flu shot to make sure I'm covered for the full flu season.

FACT: You should your flu shot now.  

It can take up to 2 weeks for your flu shot to give you protection from the flu, so you should get it ASAP to ensure you're protected. Any time from September on is a great time to get your flu shot.

MYTH: If I haven’t gotten a flu shot by now, there’s no point.

FACT: Getting the flu shot at any time during flu season will reduce your risk of getting the flu, but the sooner the better.  

Go get your flu shots today at your local pharmacy or healthcare provider!

Sources: Immunization Action Coalition; CDC

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.