5 Myths About the Flu Shot

September 11, 2020

Memorial Staff

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Don’t you wish there was a flu-free season? We do! The good news is there is one thing that can help families ward off the flu every year—the flu shot. Due to COVID-19, its more important than ever for people to get a flu shot.

The flu is a preventable illness. By getting a vaccine you are protecting yourself, your loved ones, and our frontline healthcare workers from the very real concern of the recently coined term “Twindemic.”

There are a few myths out there regarding flu shots, so we brought in our own “MythBuster” Rachel Guran, MPH, BSN, RN, CIC, director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention at Memorial Healthcare System to share the facts behind the science.

Top Flu Shot Myths

5 Common Flu Shot Myths Busted

Myth 1: Getting the flu shot will give you the flu.

It is not possible to get the flu from the flu shot because the vaccine contains an inactive virus, meaning it is not “live.” While you may experience discomfort in the spot of the actual injection, you should not feel typical flu symptoms as a result. Common side effects include:

  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Slight fever
  • Headache

These are common side effects associated with other vaccinations.

Myth 2: I am allergic to eggs, so I cannot get the flu shot.

Nervous about an allergic reaction? Don’t fret, while the most common way that flu vaccines are made is using an egg-based manufacturing process, there are variations that are made without using eggs. People with egg allergies need to tell their healthcare professional about their allergy to receive an egg-free flu shot.

Myth 3: Pregnant women should not get a flu shot.

The best way to protect pregnant women from the flu is to get a flu shot. Getting a flu shot also can help protect a baby after birth from flu, as mothers pass antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy, according to the CDC.

Myth 4: My baby is too young for a flu shot.

Doctors recommend that children get a flu shot every year in the fall, starting when they are 6 months old. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age may need 2 doses for best protection.

Myth 5: A flu shot will debilitate my grandparent's immune system.

The flu can be a very serious disease for seniors and people with chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, lung disease and heart disease). Getting a flu shot can help prevent complications, hospitalizations and death.

The more you know…

October through March is typically known as flu season in North America, but Florida starts to see cases as early as August and September due to international travel from the Southern Hemisphere.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu shots protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common.

To help create a stronger immune response, a high-dose flu shot is available for people 65 years and older.

The flu shot is safe and recommended by the CDC, especially while the world is still in a pandemic.

From babies to parents to grandparents, almost everyone can, and should, get a flu shot,” adds Guran. “The bottom line is that flu shots are more important than ever this year and we can all take the right steps to protect ourselves and our families as we attempt to regain a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.”