It’s time to get your flu shot facts straight.
With flu season coming up shortly, you may be looking for solid data and stats to share with your staff. For those who have had the flu, there’s a common understanding of how miserable it can be. Chances are good that some employees have no problem getting their annual flu shot while others may hesitate.
There's a lot of misinformation out there about flu shots, including the "flu shot gives you the flu" and now the "flu shot will make you test positive for coronavirus." The excuses for not getting flu shots may seem endless, too.
Ready to cut through the noise and get just the flu shot facts?
We’ve got you covered.
In this post, you’ll find nothing but the facts, plus some of the best resources to share with employees about the flu and flu vaccinations.
Fact #1: The Flu Vaccine Doesn’t Give You The Flu
This may be the number one objection for those who avoid getting the flu shot every year. The truth is, the flu vaccine doesn’t have a live virus that could get you sick. The vaccine is made with inactivated viruses that aren’t infectious. Or, it’s created from a single gene of a flu virus that will produce an immune response without causing you to get sick.
Fact #2: The Flu Shot Won’t Make You Test COVID-19 Positive
Perhaps one of the newest rumors to hit the flu shot “facts” published on the internet is this one: The flu vaccine makes you test positive for COVID-19. According to the National Academy Of Sciences, that is flat-out wrong. The fact is that seasonal influenza and coronavirus are two different viruses. Flu shots create antibodies to protect you from coming down with the flu. These are quite different from the ones your body would make to fight off coronavirus. An antibody test is a way to tell for sure if you have had COVID-19. It doesn’t detect flu antibodies.
Fact #3: The Chronically Ill Can Get the Flu Shot
If you suffer from a chronic condition like diabetes or another serious health issue, it’s important to at least consider your yearly flu vaccine. Some studies have found those with heart disease who receive a flu shot have lower rates of certain cardiac issues. It can also lessen the severity of the flu or hospitalization rates for those with chronic lung disease as well.
Fact #4: Flu Shots Protect Pregnant Women
The flu vaccine is one of those health precautions recommended for pregnant women. According to the CDC, pregnant women who get vaccinated cut their risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infections by about one half. Additionally, other studies have found that while it protects a woman and her baby during pregnancy, it also protects the baby from flu postpartum, too. Early treatment for flu symptoms during pregnancy is important, too — preferably within 48 hours of symptoms starting.
Fact #5: Flu Vaccines Reduce the Severity of the Flu
Studies show that flu vaccinations are known to reduce how serious flu symptoms get. A 2018 study of hospitalized flu patients showed that vaccinated patients were 59% less likely to be taken into the ICU than those who were not vaccinated. That means less time in bed and less time is taken off work, too.
Fact #6: As Long As a Flu Circulates, A Shot Helps
If it’s late fall and you still haven’t received the flu shot, it’s actually not too late! Just remember that it usually takes between two to four weeks for maximum protection to kick in, which is why experts recommend getting it as early in the season as possible. The flu season usually starts in October and ends in April. Most of the time it peaks between December and February.
Fact #7: The Flu is a Serious Condition
Those with chronic health conditions and older adults should take extra precautions during flu season. Since a case of the flu can cause complications and even death, a vaccine is the best way to reduce the risk of serious illness or flu-related complications. On average, vaccinated older adults reduced their risk of flu-associated hospital visits by 40 percent.
Fact #8: Serious Reactions Rarely Occur
The most common complaint of those who do receive a flu vaccine is usually a sore arm or redness at the injection site. Very rarely do serious complications occur due to flu vaccination.
Fact #9: You Only Need it Once a Year
Each season, the flu vaccine is formulated to best match the most likely strain of viruses going around. Studies have proven that there’s no need to get more than one vaccine during flu season. That goes for those with weakened immune systems, too. The only case where extra doses are needed is for some high-risk children.
Fact #10: The Flu Vaccine is Recommended Each Year
Every year, the flu strain that circulates changes. Because of this, a yearly flu vaccine is recommended for those who are six months and older. Even if you got your flu shot last year, the immune protection wanes over time. That’s why an annual vaccine offers the best protection against the flu.
Flu Shot Resources to Share With Your Team
When it comes to vaccinations, people generally like to see science-backed resources. The flu vaccine is no exception, especially since its strain and production changes each year. If you have some employees who are hesitant about getting their flu shot this season, here are a few resources to consider sharing with them from respected organizations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Frequently Asked Questions about Estimated Flu Burden
- Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines
- How the Flu Virus Can Change: “Drift” and “Shift
- Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine
Mayo Clinic Health System
- Influenza Vaccine Information
- Adela Taylor Explains Treatment Options for Upper Respiratory Infections
National Safety Council
Need to promote your flu vaccine clinic or generally get your team on board with staying well this flu season? We’ve got you covered with that, too. Here’s a look at our resources that are free for your use.
- How to Host a Successful Flu Shot Clinic
- The Corporate Flu Shot Buyer's Guide
- The Ultimate Cold and Flu Survival Guide
- 7 Ways to Prepare Your Office for Flu Season
This fall may look a bit different in how workplaces prepare for the cold and flu season. How are you preparing your office for the cold and flu season? Will you be taking extra safety measures like hosting a flu shot clinic? Share your ideas in the comments below.