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I don't need a flu shot because...


Many people avoid getting a
flu shot because misinformation
steers them away from this
important annual preventive
vaccine. Considering up to 20
percent of the population
contracts influenza (flu) every
year, getting a flu shot makes
good health sense.

   
““It won’t happen to me.”
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can cause mild to severe illness. The best way to help stop the spread of flu is to prevent getting the flu yourself. Getting a flu vaccine each year protects you and those you love.4
 
“If I’m pregnant, the vaccine won’t protect me or my baby.”
Since pregnant women experience changes to their body that may affect their immune system, lungs and heart, they are especially susceptible to illness from the flu. Vaccination helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies up to six months after birth.10
 
“I’m better off taking my chances.”
Unfortunately, getting the flu means also becoming a carrier. Since the flu is highly contagious, with symptoms starting one to four days after the virus enters the body, even the most conscientious individuals may unknowingly spread the virus.1
 
“If I get the vaccine, it might give me the flu.”
A flu shot will not give you the flu. The viral strains in injectable influenza vaccine have been inactivated, making it biologically unable to cause illness. The viral strains in the nasal spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness.7
 
“I exercise regularly and eat healthy so I don’t need to get vaccinated.”
The flu virus can spread when a sick person coughs, sneezes or talks, and can also be transmitted on surfaces that are touched by both sick and healthy people. Even healthy people can be infected with the flu virus without showing any symptoms and unknowingly infect others.1
 
“It’s too late to get vaccinated. Besides, I got one last year.”
While September, October and November are the recommended months for vaccination, getting a flu vaccination later in the season (December-March) can still protect you, as flu season often peaks after January.2

Because influenza strains typically change each year, you cannot count on last year’s vaccine to protect you this year.3Considering up to 20% of the U.S. population still contracts influenza every year, getting a flu vaccination makes good health sense.4
 
“I got the vaccine and still got the flu so it must not be effective.”
The vaccine prevents the flu in approximately 70%-90% of healthy people under the age of 65. The effectiveness of the vaccine is subject to variables such as:
 
 
+  the amount of time between vaccination and exposure to the virus
+  age and health status
+  the match between the virus strains in the vaccine and those in circulation.5
 
“The flu vaccine is only necessary for the old and very young.”
The flu vaccine is for anyone who doesn’t want to be sick with the flu or inadvertently spread the virus to others. The ACIP for the CDC recommends annual immunization for all people aged 6 months and older.7
 
“The flu is not that serious.”
According to the CDC, more people die each year from the flu and resulting complications than from all vaccine-preventable diseases combined.8 Flu symptoms, including fever, headaches, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, extreme tiredness and body aches, can disrupt your work, school and social life for up to two weeks.9
 
References
  1.  Influenza: The Disease. Available at www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/index.htm.
Accessed September 2008.
  2.  Key Facts about Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine
www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm.
Accessed July 2014.
  3.  How the Flu Virus Can Change
www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/change.htm
Accessed July 2014.
  4.  Seasonal Influenza: Questions and Answers
www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/disease.htm
Accessed July 2014.
  5.  Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness
www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm
Accessed July 2014.
  6.  ACIP Cites Preference for Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine for Young
www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/06/acip-cites-preference-nasal spray-flu-vaccine-young
Accessed July 2014.
  7.  Misconceptions about Seasonal Influenza and Influenza Vaccines
www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm
Accessed July 2014.
  8.  FastStats: Deaths and Mortality
www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm
Accessed July 2014.
  9.  Flu Symptoms and Severity
www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/symptoms.htm
Accessed July 2014.
  10.  Pregnant Women & Influenza (Flu)
www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm
Accessed July 2014.