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The flu vaccine: myths vs. facts

A yearly influenza (flu) vaccine is the best way to protect

yourself against the flu. However, common myths about the vaccine can make people hesitant about being vaccinated, so it’s important to lay out the facts.

Myth: I can catch the flu from a flu shot.

Fact: Flu vaccines do not make you sick with the flu. Flu shots use inactivated (dead) flu viruses. Nasal spray flu vaccines use live viruses that are weakened. These safe and effective flu vaccines do not cause illness. Your immune system responds to these vaccines by developing antibodies to protect you against a flu infection.

Myth: Hand washing and masks are enough to avoid the flu.

Fact: Practicing good hygiene, wearing masks, and social distancing all help to control the spread of COVID-19 as well as the flu, but the most effective protection against the flu is the flu vaccine. It helps prevent infection from the virus, lowers the severity of symptoms in case of infection, and reduces the number of flu-related doctor’s visits each year.

Myth: The COVID-19 shot can protect me from the flu.

Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine protects you from a coronavirus, which is different from a flu virus. Even though the symptoms for both infections are similar, only the flu vaccine has been proven to protect against the flu. If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, go to to find a location near you.

Myth: It isn’t safe to receive both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no interaction between these two vaccines. You don’t have to wait between vaccinations and can receive both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

Myth: The flu vaccine is not effective.

Fact: While the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary each season, it is on average about 40% to 60% effective in reducing the risk of infection in the overall population. During the 2019-2020 flu season, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million flu cases, 3.7 million flu-related medical visits, and more than 100,000 hospitalizations.

Myth: I don’t need to receive a flu vaccine again because I’ve already received one in the past.

Fact: It is important to receive a flu vaccine every year because the flu virus constantly changes. The flu vaccine is updated each year to target the most common virus strains for the upcoming flu season.

Myth: The flu shot causes severe side effects.

Fact: While it is true that you could experience side effects, they are typically mild. Soreness, low- grade fever, and headache are among the possible side effects after vaccination. It doesn’t mean you have the flu. It means your body is responding to the vaccine by making antibodies. These symptoms are much less severe than symptoms of an actual flu and should go away after about two days.

Myth: If I’m vaccinated, my child does not need a flu shot.

Fact: Being vaccinated helps prevent you from getting the flu, but it doesn’t protect your child. It is possible for your child to pick up the flu virus from other people who may or may not be vaccinated.

Get a flu shot — it’s covered by most insurance at 100%!

Protect yourself and your family. Go to to find a flue shot location near you.



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