LOUISVILLE, Ky. — I don’t like getting the flu shot. Really, I don’t. But, for this segment, I put my money where my mouth is and got the shot while debunking the myths surrounding it.
Rachel Hardin, the Kroger Pharmacist who gave me the shot, was very calming. And, she told me the objections to the vaccination that she hears most often.
“A big one I hear is that it gives them the flu—which is absolutely not true, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” Hardin said. “The second one would probably be that they don’t think it works, that it’s not effective… The third one is probably that they don’t get sick, so they don’t need the flu shot anyway.”
Alright, let’s take these one by one.
Myth 1: The flu shot can give you the flu
Like Hardin spelled out above, you can NOT get the flu from the flu shot. It’s not possible. The virus inside has been de-activated, so it can’t infect you.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely be feeling your best the next day. It’s actually common to not feel so hot; but, that’s just a sign that the vaccine is working. The goal of a vaccine is to activate your immune system, and get it to start making antibodies against the virus. While this process is underway, it’s normal to feel a little crummy. Doctors still stay it’s WAY preferable to actually getting the flu.
Myth 2: The flu shot isn’t effective, and is therefore a waste of time
Ok, so this myth is actually built upon an understandable objection. The way researchers develop the flu vaccine is by studying strains from previous years, and then making an educated guess as to which strains will pop up in the upcoming season. And, sometimes they pick wrong. The CDC gives the vaccine a 40-60% success rate at reducing flu risk.
Snarky gif aside, it really is still a good idea for you to get the flu shot. Even when the developers don’t guess the exact strain, doctors say it’s still better that you got the vaccine. Your symptoms are probably going to be less severe since your immune system has already been primed by the shot.
Myth 3: “I don’t get sick”
First of all, no one is invincible. Just because you didn’t get the flu last year doesn’t mean you won’t get it this year. But, even if you’re right and you never show flu symptoms this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a carrier for someone else.
See, you’re kinda like an elephant. You live in a herd, with the other humans around you. The more of your “herd” that is vaccinated, the less the virus can spread thanks to what doctors call “herd immunity.”
This is especially important for people who can’t get the vaccine due to health concerns; they count on the rest of us to do it so they stay as safe as possible.
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