Flu Shot Myth Busters

MYTH 1: "THE FLU SHOT WILL MAKE ME SICK"

Truth: According to the CDC, no form of the flu vaccine will give you the flu. Some people do have a mild reaction to the injection. It may last a few hours or up to a day, but it is not flu illness. It can take about two weeks for the body to build up protection against flu viruses after the shot. Until that resistance is built up, it’s still possible to catch the flu, but the shot itself doesn’t cause it.

MYTH 2: “IT’S UNSAFE TO LEAVE MY HOUSE DURING COVID-19 TO GET A FLU SHOT”

Truth: Your doctor’s office and other medical providers have taken many steps to ensure safe practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also follow the CDC’s recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits. With these precautions in place, it’s safe to get your flu shot.

MYTH 3: “IF YOU’VE HAD THE FLU IN THE PAST, YOU’RE IMMUNE”

Truth: Viruses that cause the flu change all the time. The flu you caught last year won’t be the same as the one you’ll catch this year. Likewise, last year’s vaccine won’t work on this year’s strains. With certain viruses, a vaccine can protect you for much longer periods. But that’s just not the case for the flu virus.

MYTH 4: “I’M AT HIGH RISK FOR COVID-19, SO IT’S TOO RISKY TO GET A VACCINE”

Truth:  If you’re vulnerable to COVID-19, then your risk for flu is also high. The good news - any vaccination location following CDC’s guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine. So, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they’re following CDC’s vaccination pandemic guidance. 

MYTH 5: “FLU VACCINATIONS AREN’T SAFE FOR KIDS”

Truth: For most children ages six months and older, getting a flu shot is critical. The sooner, the better. That’s why this year, the state of Massachusetts requires all children and students without extenuating health circumstances to get a shot (or vaccine type) before the end of the year. If your child has a compromised immune system or ongoing health challenges, talk to your doctor about whether the vaccine is right for your child. 

MYTH 6: “THE FLU SHOT ONLY PROTECTS AGAINST A LIMITED NUMBER OF MANY STRAINS, SO THERE’S NO POINT TO GET ONE.”

Truth: Your flu vaccine protects against the most common strains expected for the upcoming season as determined by extensive, ongoing research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more about the different flu strains and how vaccines are designed.