Myths vs. Facts of the Flu vaccine
This week is national influenza vaccination week in the US, and in the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic it is more important than ever to get your annual flu shot. Today we’ll unpack some of the myths vs. facts of the flu vaccine. The flu impacts around 3-11 percent of the population each year, and for some people can lead to severe symptoms, hospitalization, and even death in elderly people, young children, and immunocompromised people.
Myth: The Flu Shot makes you more susceptible to Covid.
This has circulated for two flu seasons in a row, but there is no evidence to support that the vaccine may increase your odds of getting Covid. These concerns likely arose given that your body’s immune response to the flu vaccine mimics that of being actually sick, which would lower your immune system’s resilience. However, it’s very unlikely that the symptoms you experience after the flu vaccine coincide with lowered resistance to Covid or any other illness.
Myth: I got the shot last year, so I’m still covered.
The flu vaccine is given annually because flu viruses are always changing, and strains are reviewed each year and revised to keep up with whatever the most common viruses are in a given year. What’s more, your body’s immune response to the flu vaccine declines over time. Getting the shot each year is the best way to protect yourself and everyone around you.
Myth: The flu isn’t serious.
Not only do millions of people get the flu each year, but the CDC also reports thousands to tens of thousands of deaths annually due to the flu. Hundreds of thousands of people are also hospitalized for the flu each year. If missing work and feeling sick for one to two weeks isn’t enough motivation to get your vaccination, remember the people around you may be facing more dire consequences if they contract the flu.
Myth: It’s too late to get vaccinated.
While people are generally encouraged to get vaccinated in October and November, getting the vaccine now is still going to provide you with effective protection. Flu season often peaks in January or later, and can last well into May.
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