The Flu Shot: True Or False

The truth behind the flu shot (Photo: Shutterstock/InesBazdar)

Do you get the flu shot every year? Or do you skip it because you don’t think you need it, or have heard it can give you the flu? Well, here’s a primer on the truth behind the flu shot. Bottom line: You should see your doctor or pop into your pharmacy to get it – get it now early in the flu season so you’re protected.

The flu shot will give you the flu

False. The flu shot contains an artificial version of the flu virus; your body notices this version and your immunity system starts building a response for it so that you are  prepared to defend yourself against the flu germs included in the shot.

If you’re fit and healthy, you don’t need the shot

False. Everyone six months of age or older should get the flu shot. Even if you’re active and healthy and eat a balanced diet, you can get sick from the flu.

It doesn’t matter when you get the flu shot

True. Once you get the shot, your body is ready to defend itself against the flu though about two weeks after the shot, though, so it’s best to get your flu shot once it is available each flu season so you’re protected the entire flu season. Flu season runs from October to May.

You can only get the flu shot by seeing your doctor

False. You can get the flu shot from your doctor, a flu clinic (your workplace or school might offer this), and many pharmacies.

You can still get the flu if you get the flu shot

True. The shot does not give you the flu, but if you were exposed to flu germs before you got your flu shot, then you already had the virus in you, which is why you could possibly get sick after getting the shot since it takes two weeks for your body to build its immune defence after getting the shot. Also, there are more strains of flu than the ones contained in the shot—you could possibly come into contact with one not included in the vaccination.

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