Fact or fiction? Breaking down the myths surrounding the flu shot

Are you getting your flu shot this year? Well, if you’re like millions of Americans, you’ll skip the shot and take the chance of catching the influenza. But why turn down the vaccine?

What’s stopping many Americans are often myths and misconceptions surrounding the vaccines. But experts say most of those theories are wrong.

Miriam Link-Mullison, Director of the Jackson County Health Department, says she’s heard every theory in the book about flu shots.

"So I’m not going to get my flu shot because I hear you can get the flu from it. Not true," said Miriam Link-Mullison, Jackson County Health Dept. Director.

The vaccine, she says, is either made from an inactive virus, meaning you can’t catch the flu from getting the shot. Or it’s weakened, where your body temperature kills the virus after the shot enters your body.

Link-Mullison says another issue they deal with is people who think they can’t get the flu after getting the shot. But that isn’t accurate, either. She says it can take up to two weeks for the immunity from the flu shot to actually protect your body, so if you’ve already been exposed to the virus, say five to seven days after the shot, you’ll still get sick. And, she says, getting the shot won’t prevent you from catching the flu entirely, but it does drastically decrease your chance of hospitalization from the virus.

She says while most of the myths floating around aren’t true, Link-Mullison says they do prevent a large number of people from being vaccinated year after year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of Americans getting the shot are rising, covering 43 percent of adults and nearly 60 percent of kids last year. But, Link-Mullison says there’s still room for improvement.

"We have a lot of people out there that still need to be vaccinated. It is not too late for this flu season," she said.

Experts say no matter what false stories you’ve heard about getting your flu vaccine, they say it’s a fact that getting that shot could save your life or someone else’s this flu season.

For more flu shot myths and the truth behind the tales, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s full report here.

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