Flu Shot Myths and Facts

You may have heard these common flu vaccine myths. Get the facts – and get vaccinated.

September 25, 2022

Flu season is starting, and experts predict that it will be worse this year than it was in the past few years. Are you prepared? In addition to washing your hands, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself during cold and flu season is to get a flu shot.

Hospitals go to great lengths to get their staff vaccinated, which is a testament to the importance of flu shots. Rates of vaccination among hospitals are published, with each hospital competing for the highest rate.

At Better Health Advisors, we receive many questions about the flu and the flu shot.

Here are seven common flu shot myths, debunked.

MYTH: You can't get the flu shot at the same time as a Covid-19 vaccination or booster.
FACT: Health officials say there is "no problem at all" with getting your flu shot and Covid booster at the same time. The updated Covid-19 vaccine booster and the latest flu vaccine are both widely available and it is safe to get both at the same appointment.

MYTH: I got a flu shot last year, so I don’t need one this year.
FACT: The flu virus changes every year, so while last year’s flu shot may provide slight protection, you need to get one every year to get the full effect.

MYTH: You can get the flu from the flu shot.
FACT: You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. However, it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to become effective, so it is possible that you could develop the flu during that window. It is also possible to get another illness that mimics flu symptoms, which can sometimes be confused with the flu.

MYTH: The flu shot is 100% effective.
FACT: Some years the flu shot is more effective than others. Scientists predict which strains of the virus will be prominent and create the vaccine accordingly. However, it is impossible to know for sure what the virus will look like.

MYTH: Vaccines can cause autism.
FACT: There is absolutely no evidence that vaccines cause autism. In the 1990s a study came out linking the MMR vaccine to autism, but this study was later retracted. No other studies have been able to replicate the results.

MYTH: I don’t need to get a flu shot until December.
FACT: Experts recommend you get the flu shot as early as October for the best protection.

MYTH: I have to make an appointment with my PCP to get a flu shot.
FACT: In addition to being available at your internal medicine doctor’s office, flu shots are also available at many local pharmacies, urgent care centers, and hospitals. Students can often get flu shots at their university health center.

Immunizations are one of the most important actions people can take to protect their health. To find out where you can get the updated Covid-19 booster and/or the flu shot, go to vaccinefinder.org.

If you need help navigating the healthcare system, reach out to an expert health advisor. A health advisor provides personalized guidance and ongoing support with everything from finding a top concierge doctor, to arranging for a second opinion, to managing a chronic illness. We simplify the process of accessing great health care.

Have healthcare questions?

Our team of expert health advisors can help.

Schedule a consultation →