Flu Shot Myths

A doctor gives a woman a shot in the arm
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Have you gotten a flu shot this year? Life happens and it’s easy to put it off until a better time, but here are a few thoughts to help you make the decision to immunize you and your family – today. US Surgeon General Jerome Adams says, “Flu vaccinations save lives.” That’s pretty clear and should be taken seriously after last year’s flu season which left more than 80,000 dead from flu-related illnesses. This was the highest number of deaths in 40 years. Yet, in most years, the vaccination rate is about 47% – well below the [Department of Health & Human Service’s] targeted number of 70%.

So why don’t people get vaccinated? Reasons range from the obvious, “I’m too busy to take the time” to believing the vaccine is not effective to just plain fear of needles. Here are some facts to allay your fears and put misconceptions to rest.

The straight story:

  • Everyone is vulnerable. While people age 65 and older may be at a higher risk from complications, the flu can affect everyone. And, even if you don’t have a severe case, flu symptoms can keep you out of work and feeling lousy for about a week.
  • Getting a flu shot is your civic duty – just like voting! We all get the flu from someone else, so don’t be “that person.” Getting a flu shot will protect you, your family, friends, and co-workers.
  • You can still get the flu, but you won’t be as sick. The 2017-18 season was especially severe and deadly, partially due to the most prevalent strain. But every year is different, and the CDC estimates that a flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting flu by 40-60%.

Still have questions?

Can getting a flu shot give me the flu? This is an easy answer: NO.

Why do I feel “under the weather” after getting a flu shot? While some people have a mild reaction to flu vaccination, this is not the same as getting sick with the flu. Soreness and/or redness at the site of the shot, low-grade fever, and headache or other muscle aches are the most common symptoms and they usually last only 1-2 days.

Do I really need a flu shot every year? Yes, absolutely. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual shot for nearly everyone over 6 months of age to have optimal protection against the flu.

If I get two vaccines, will I have twice the immunity? In studies with adults, no benefit has been shown for getting more than one dose of vaccine and only one immunization is recommended for each season.

Will a flu shot make me more – or less – susceptible to other respiratory viruses? Overwhelming evidence indicates that this is not a common occurrence, and that, in fact, flu vaccination does not make people more susceptible to other respiratory infections.

Flu season is here, so don’t delay! Come to one of Integrity Urgent Clinic’s four convenient locations. We’re here 8 am to 8 pm every day. Walk-ins are always welcome or use our new online check-in portal to make your wait time even shorter. #boo2flu!

*Hashtag credit to Max Webb, student at Georgetown University, as coined in NPR story referenced below.

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