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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sherry Barnett

Debunking Flu Vaccine Myth

This week the first death from the flu for the 2018-2019 flu season was reported in Florida. A child who was otherwise healthy has died and she was not vaccinated. Over 80,000 Americans died last flu season and 80% of them were not vaccinated. A healthcare survey done in Florida amongst parents showed that 50% of parents that did not vaccinate their children stated their reason was that they thought you could get the flu from the flu shot. While the FluMist is a modified live intranasal vaccine that can cause flu-like symptoms, the flu shot is a completely “killed” or inactivated vaccine. The flu shot cannot cause one to get the flu. Most people wait until October or later in the year to get the vaccine and that is the same time of year that the viral respiratory season begins. When one gets sick in proximity to getting a flu shot, one might erroneously conclude that the vaccine made them sick, when in reality, it was just a coincidence. I personally make sure to get my flu vaccine in August, so that I am protected prior to the flu starting to spread and because it takes 2-3 weeks to make protective antibodies. One big reason to consider getting a flu vaccine, even if you have a pattern of getting sick in proximity to getting the vaccine, is to protect babies under 6 months who are not able to get the vaccine and to protect elderly loved ones who do not respond as well to the vaccine.

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