Flu season is already underway. That’s right, while you are enjoying the fruits (and pumpkin spice lattes) of autumn right now, the sad truth is the flu bug is out and about. For many people, that means getting themselves and their children vaccinated in order to avoid a painful (and exhausting) illness, a recent survey revealed many parents are actually avoiding the flu shot for a head-scratching reason…
They think the flu shot causes the flu.
“I’m flabbergasted,” says Dr. William Schaffner, who studies infectious disease at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine. “I and many others have been saying for over 20 years that you can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. I don’t know how to say it any louder. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. That’s a myth.”
Jean Moorjani, a board-certified pediatrician at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, brings some additional facts to the debate:
The parts of the virus that are used are completely dead, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. After receiving the shot, it takes your body about two weeks to build up antibodies to fight the flu, so if you come in contact with the virus during that time, you may still get sick, which is why you should get your flu shot as early as possible.
Many, many other doctors have added their enthusiastic support for the vaccine in recent days.
According to the CDC, 172 kids lost their lives to the flu in 2017 — the highest death toll in almost a decade — and over 80% of the children who perished did not have a current flu shot.
Doctors and other health professionals aren’t trying to scare parents, but they do want them to know that by not giving them the flu vaccine because of unfounded fears, you could be putting their lives in danger.
“There’s no reason to be nervous about getting your children vaccinated against the flu,” reiterates Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “You should be nervous about not getting your children vaccinated.”