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Myths & facts

People come up with all sorts of reasons for not getting a flu vaccination. Most of these reasons are based on myths, as outlined below.

It's important to remember that your decision about whether to get vaccinated doesn't only affect you.

"I didn't get a flu shot because..."
Myth: "...I'm willing to risk it."
Fact: Not getting a flu shot could impact your family, friends, co-workers and others around you.

The CDC recommends the flu shot for people, including school-age children, who want to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with the flu or transmitting it to others.

Vaccination is also recommended for the following higher-risk groups:

  • Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
  • Pregnant women
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • a.
      Health care workers
    • b.
      Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • c.
      Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Myth: "...the flu isn't that serious."
Fact: Influenza can have serious results.
  • Influenza is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs) that can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and the worsening of chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
  • Its symptoms, which can disrupt your work and social plans for up to two weeks, can include fever, headaches, extreme tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches.
  • Each year in the U.S. roughly 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die from the flu and its complications.
Myth: "...I never get the flu."
Fact: Influenza strains change each year.
  • Even if you were immune to influenza strains circulating in the past, you may not be immune to new strains that emerge this season.
  • The best way to help protect yourself from new influenza strains is to get vaccinated.
Myth: "...I might catch the flu from the vaccine."
Fact: Flu shots can't give you the flu.

Injectable flu vaccines are made from influenza viruses that have been killed, and a killed virus cannot give you the flu.

Myth: "...I missed the vaccination season."
Fact: You can still protect yourself after autumn.

Although October through December are the recommended months for vaccination, since that's when viruses begin to circulate, a flu shot later in the winter can still help protect you and your loved ones from the flu.

Myth: "...I may be allergic to the vaccine."
Fact: Flu vaccines are safe for most people.
  • However, the influenza vaccine is not appropriate for those who have had a severe allergic reaction to eggs or to a previous flu vaccination.
  • Vaccination may not be appropriate if you have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
  • Talk to your health-care professional if you have any questions or concerns.

Flu Bug Battlezone

Zap the flu bugs and learn how to prevent the flu.