Don’t let misinformation about the flu shot and flu shot side effects stop you from getting this important vaccine. Here are some common myths about the flu shot and the facts.
MYTH: "My flu shot gave me the flu."
- You can't get the flu from the flu shot. The viruses inside the vaccine are dead and can’t infect you.
- Other viruses can have the same symptoms as influenza. You may have caught one of these viruses near the time you were vaccinated.
- Or you may have been infected by a strain of the flu virus not covered by the current year’s flu shot. Each year’s vaccine is different and may not cover all the strains that are circulating.
- People often call a cold or other minor illness “the flu,” but there are differences. Influenza virus infection can have serious consequences. That’s why we recommend vaccinating most people — it’s the most effective way to protect yourself.
MYTH: "I never get the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine."
- Studies have shown that half the people infected with the flu virus didn't know they were sick because they had mild symptoms. Even people experiencing very mild or no symptoms can spread the virus for up to a week.
MYTH: "The flu shot always has side effects."
- The biggest flu shot side effects are redness, swelling and soreness at the injection site. This occurs in only 15-20% of people who get the shot. These flu shot reactions last only a couple of days.
- Fever, chills and muscle pain occur in less than 1% (1 in 100) of people receiving a flu shot.
- Allergic reactions to the flu shot are rare and usually relate to the egg protein, one of the flu shot ingredients used to create the vaccine.
MYTH: "I can’t have the flu shot because I'm pregnant."
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu shot for anyone who's pregnant during flu season. (Pregnant people should not get the FluMist nasal spray vaccine.)
- Pregnant people who get the flu are four times more likely to need hospitalization than those who aren't pregnant.
- It's safe for you to get a seasonal flu shot any time during your pregnancy.