National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 2 – 8.
By Pedro Zavala, MD
Resident, Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Medical Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
Medical Director, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Blog
Winter is here and with it comes the beginning of flu season. Every fall people across the U.S. hear the same thing, “It’s flu season; get your vaccine,” and despite health care providers recommendations, every year there are people who opt out. My intent is to bust the most common myths about the flu vaccine so more people know the truth based on evidence-based research. Here we go!
Myth #1: The flu vaccine gives you the flu.
This is probably the biggest of them all. The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. Because the flu vaccine is made of a killed or inactive flu virus, it cannot cause infection. If you get sick after the flu vaccine, it is either your body’s immune response to the vaccine or symptoms of another virus (that you probably picked up when you went to the doctor!).
Myth #2: I’m healthy, so I do not need the flu vaccine every year.
The CDC currently recommends everyone over the age of six months get the flu vaccine every year. Even healthy people should get it. Because your immunity decreases over the 12 months since your last flu vaccine, yearly vaccination gives you the best protection. The flu virus mutates every year so yearly flu vaccine protects you against the strains that are more likely to cause infection this season.