Flu shots: Know the facts
Don't let flu myths keep you from getting your shot.
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.
Myth: With COVID-19 restrictions, not as many people will get the flu. This flu season might be the same. So, that means I can skip the flu shot this year.
Fact. Flu season peaks in fall and winter. It’s hard to know how bad the flu and COVID-19 will be season to season. 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 every 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.
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.
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.
Myth: I think it's too late in the season for me to get a flu shot this year.
Fact. Flu season is usually from November through the end of April. It takes two weeks to get full protection from the vaccine. So the best time to get your flu shot is between September and the end of October, before flu season starts.
But if you haven’t received the flu shot yet, it’s not too late to get it.
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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu season. Accessed February 11, 2022.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently asked influenza (flu) questions: 2021-2022 season. Accessed February 11, 2022.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Accessed February 11, 2022.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Similarities and differences between flu and COVID-19. Accessed February 11, 2022.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report. Accessed February 11, 2022.
- 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. Accessed February 11, 2022.
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.