JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No myths or costs should keep you from getting your yearly flu vaccine. That’s the message from the #FluVaxJax campaign which is encouraging everyone who is able to get vaccinated against the flu to do so.
In fact, nearly everyone 6 months or older is encouraged to get the flu vaccine. If you are insured, the cost is covered 100 percent. If you are uninsured, you can request a voucher to get the shot for free.
With the barrier of cost out of the way, let’s bust some flu vaccine myths.
Myth: The flu vaccine won’t protect me from the flu
Dr. Sunil Joshi helped launch the #FluVaxJax campaign with the Duval County Medical Society Foundation four years ago. He says while you can still get the flu after being vaccinated, the vaccine can help lessen the seriousness of the illness and keep you out of the hospital.
Myth: The flu vaccine gives me the flu
Dr. Joshi, who is now the city of Jacksonville’s Chief Health Officer, says it’s not possible for the flu shot to give a person the flu because the vaccine does not contain a live virus.
Instead, he says it’s just your immune system reacting and building antibodies that will ultimately fight against the flu if you’re ever exposed.
“That is not the flu causing that, that’s your immune system’s reaction to the vaccine causing that. And that’s very normal. You can expect that to happen. But usually, those symptoms go away pretty quickly, within 24 hours, whereas the flu itself may last for weeks,” Joshi said.
Myth: I shouldn’t get the flu vaccine because I’m pregnant
The World Health Organization says this myth is dangerous. WHO says those who are pregnant should especially get the flu vaccine -- at any stage of pregnancy -- because their immune systems are weaker than usual.
Myth: I’m allergic to eggs so I can’t get the vaccine
While once true long ago, this has not been the case for quite some time. And now, new CDC guidance released last month indicates no special requirements are needed any longer if someone with an egg allergy gets a flu shot.
“The flu vaccine itself has a very small amount of egg protein in it. If somebody suffers from a severe allergic reaction to eggs, the previous recommendations have been for them to receive the flu shot but to receive it in a health care provider’s office that can recognize and treat allergic reactions. The CDC has now taken out that recommendation and suggests that even folks with severe egg allergies can get their flu shot at a pharmacy or other places even outside of a doctor’s office,” Joshi explained.