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Two Myths About the Flu Shot That People Should Stop Spreading

Posted By Joanna Carmona, Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2016

by Joanna Carmona 




Have you ever heard someone say “I’m not getting the flu shot because it will give me the flu” or “Flu vaccines don’t prevent the flu”? If you have, you aren’t alone. These types of myths are perpetuated every time the flu season pays us a visit, so it’s time to re-visit the facts so you can make an informed decision about the flu shot.


The early results thus far during the 2015-2016 flu season show that 66.7% of health care personnel have received flu vaccination coverage, according to this survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our hope is that this number will continue to rise during the remainder of this flu season and beyond to create healthier communities. The position of the National Patient Safety Foundation is in support of mandatory influenza vaccination for health care workers.


Now, if we’re seeing that health care personnel vaccination isn’t at 100% yet, it’s even more important for everyone to know the facts about vaccinations. It’s possible that we all need a quick refresher, so here it is.


Myth 1: “I’m not getting the flu shot because it will give me the flu.”


The facts

The influenza vaccine cannot give anyone the flu. Vaccines are made with inactivated (i.e., not infectious) flu vaccine viruses or with no flu vaccine viruses at all (called recombinant influenza vaccine). In randomized, blinded studies, other than increased soreness/redness at the site of the vaccine, there was no difference in outcomes among those who received a flu vaccination and those who received a saline injection.


Myth 2: “Flu vaccines don’t prevent the flu.”


The facts

Recent studies show that vaccines reduce the risk of flu illness by about 50% to 60% among the overall population, according to the CDC. While the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary from year to year, vaccination reduces the risk of more serious flu outcomes and may make the illness milder in those who were vaccinated but still get sick.


If you are not concerned about getting the flu, think of others. Being able to protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to the illness such as babies and older people, may give you the extra motivation to get vaccinated. The first step to healthier communities is being informed, so if you’ve made it this far, consider yourself informed. Now spread the word and share this post.


Want to know more about flu vaccinations? Join the conversation on social media at #UnitedAgainstFlu and visit the American Hospital Association website.


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Joanna Carmona is communications coordinator at the National Patient Safety Foundation. Contact her at



Tags:  flu shot  flu vaccine  NPSF 

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