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Flu shots: Know the facts

Don't let flu myths keep you from getting your shot.

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What’s your top excuse for not getting a flu shot? These myth busters will prove that getting vaccinated is your best shot for not getting the flu.

Get your flu shot now

Myth: Last year, with COVID-19 restrictions on traveling and gathering indoors with others, not very many people got the flu. The 2021–2022 flu season might be the same. So, that means I can skip the flu shot this year.

Fact. It’s hard to know how bad the flu and COVID-19 will be this fall and winter. We expect both viruses to keep spreading. So, you could get the flu or COVID-19 by itself or both at the same time. That’s why it’s still important to get the flu shot this year. 

If you haven’t had your COVID-19 shot yet, make appointments to get that and your flu shot. The shots can help you stay healthy or lower your chances of getting very sick from these viruses. 

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Doctor sharing information with a patient 

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Myth: COVID-19 is spreading in my community. I’m fairly young and healthy, and I got the flu shot last year. If I keep wearing a mask, washing my hands often and being socially distant, I don’t need the flu shot again this year, right?

Fact. You should not skip your annual flu shot. It’s an important way for you to stay healthy. Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice for COVID-19 precautions. Vaccination sites will also follow the CDC’s guidelines to keep you safe. 

Plus, flu shots are updated every year. They are based on the types of flu strains expected to be common that season. So, they may be different from last year. Also, any protection you had from last year’s shot reduces over time. It may not be enough to protect you this season.

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Myth: I might catch the flu from the flu shot.

Fact: The flu shot cannot give you the flu. They have an inactive virus or virus particles that won’t make you sick.

Some people may get a low-grade fever that goes away within one to two days. They may think they caught the flu, but they are really just having an immune response.

This means their immune system, or the way their body protects itself, is working.2

Myth: I think it's too late in the season for me to get a flu shot this year. 

Fact. The best time to get your flu shot is between September and the end of October, before flu season starts. This is because it takes two weeks to get full protection from the vaccine.

Flu season is usually from November through the end of April. Most cases happen from December through February. You can get the flu vaccine anytime during the flu season. That’s why it’s never too late to get vaccinated.

Myth: I’ve heard that people 65 years and older should get the high-dose vaccine. 

Fact: The CDC does not prefer one vaccine over another for this age group. Both the standard and high-dose vaccines are OK for patients 65 and older. The important thing is to get the shot; don’t wait.

Ask your medical provider about which flu shot is right for you.

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Sources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . 2019-2020 U.S. flu season: Preliminary burden estimates. Accessed June 15, 2021. 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Accessed June 15, 2021. 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2020-2021 Season. Accessed June 15, 2021. 
  4. Izurieta HS, Chillarige Y, Kelman J, et al. Relative effectiveness of cell-cultured and  egg-based influenza vaccines among the U.S. elderly, 2017–18. J Infect Dis 2019;220:1255–64.

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.

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Schedule your flu shot today. Don’t wait. 

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