Main content

    Flu vaccination myths and misconceptions

    MYTH: “I got a flu shot but got the flu anyway.”

    • Other viruses have the same symptoms as influenza. You may have caught one of these bugs and developed a “flu-like” illness after being vaccinated.
    • You may have become infected by a strain of influenza virus not covered by the current year’s vaccine.

    Back to top


    MYTH: “My immune system is strong, so I don’t need the vaccine.”

    • Symptoms of the flu are sometimes very mild.
    • One study showed that half of the people infected with the influenza virus had such mild symptoms that they didn’t even know they were sick and spreading the virus to others.

    Back to top


    MYTH: “I never get the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine.”

    • A study of unvaccinated nurses showed many had developed a new antibody to a strain of influenza but never reported being ill. Many even went to work because they didn’t feel sick.
    • Even though you don’t have flu symptoms, you can spread the influenza virus to others for up to a week.

    Back to top


    MYTH: “The flu shot made me sick.”

    • Redness, swelling and soreness at the injection site occurs in about 15-20 percent of vaccinations. It usually lasts only a couple of days.
    • Fever, chills and muscle pain occur in less than one percent of vaccinations.
    • Allergic reactions are rare and usually are related to the residual egg protein used to create the vaccine.

    Back to top


    MYTH: “I can’t have the flu shot because I am pregnant.”

    • If a pregnant woman catches influenza, her risk of hospitalization is four times higher compared to non-pregnant women!
    • Vaccination is recommended for all women who are pregnant during flu season.
    • You can get a seasonal flu vaccine any time during your pregnancy.

    Back to top