Skip to Content

NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.

Healthy You

5 myths about flu shots

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 10:29 AM
Tags: flu

By NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health

When was the last time you got a flu shot?

For some, it’s been a while. Generally, about half the U.S. population gets a flu vaccine each year.

Maybe relatively young, healthy people think, why bother? Perhaps you’ve even seen a social media post claiming flu shots make you sick.

The truth is, flu vaccines can save you (and others) from a lot of sickness. Even if you’re generally in good health.

girl getting flu shotThere are common misconceptions about flu shots that prevent some people from protecting themselves. Check out these 5 myths, along with the facts:

  1. MYTH: The flu vaccine will give you the flu.
    This isn’t possible. Flu vaccines are made with inactive or modified viruses to boost immunity without causing an infection.
  2. MYTH: If you’re healthy, you don’t need a shot.
    Not only will a flu shot protect you if you are infected with a flu virus, it can help protect the people around you. Certain individuals, such as seniors, infants, or those with compromised immune systems, can develop severe illness and complications if they are infected. A flu shot could also lessen symptoms if you are infected.
  3. MYTH: Flu shots don’t work anyway.
    It’s true that how well the flu shot works varies from season to season. However, it always works. It can reduce the risk of needing medical treatment for flu by 40 to 60 percent. It can also reduce the severity of symptoms if you catch the virus and reduce hospitalizations.
  4. MYTH: The thimerosal in some shots can be harmful to your body.
    The Food and Drug Administration reports thimerosal has a long record of safe and effective use in preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines and does not cause ill effects other than hypersensitivity and minor local reactions at the injection site. Many vaccines today are formulated in single doses without thimerosal. FDA-approved seasonal flu vaccines that do not contain thimerosal as a preservative are available for infants, kids, adults and pregnant women.
  5. MYTH: The flu isn’t serious enough to warrant getting vaccinated.
    Most people who get the flu will recover within two weeks, but some will develop complications from that flu that could be life-threatening. The annual flu shot can help minimize symptoms and prevent hospitalization and serious complications.

Remember, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect. Protect yourself and those around you — get vaccinated.

Flu Shots are now available. Visit to learn more and schedule your vaccination.