Debunking 5 common myths about the flu

We know the flu comes around every year, and we know we’re encouraged to receive an annual flu vaccination. But what may surprise you is the amount of misinformation that many people have about the flu.

To help you stay informed, we’ve put together a list of the five most common flu myths, and the facts.

Employees and volunteers can schedule their flu vaccination and updated COVID-19 booster by calling the University Employee Health Clinic at 319-356-3631, option 3. You may also email employee-health@uiowa.edu to request an appointment.

Myth: The flu isn’t serious, so I don’t need to be vaccinated

Fact: Every year in the U.S. alone, as many as 41 million people are infected with the flu and as many as 50,000 die each year from the flu.

Although most people who are infected with the flu fully recover in a matter of weeks, receiving an annual flu vaccination protects you from infection, serious illness, and potential long-term complications—like sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, and heart or brain inflammations.


Myth: The flu vaccine can give me the flu

Fact: Flu vaccines that are injected are made with either inactivated (killed) viruses or with only a single protein from the flu virus. This means you cannot get the flu from a vaccination, though you may feel flu-like symptoms after vaccination, which is your body’s response to the vaccine.


Myth: I got vaccinated but still got the flu, so the vaccine doesn’t work

Fact: Even after vaccination, you can still be infected with the flu—no matter how healthy you are. But receiving a flu vaccination does significantly reduce the chances of infection and—if you do get the flu—the vaccine significantly reduces the severity of illness.


Myth: I got the flu vaccine last year, so I don’t need it again this year

Fact: The protection provided by the flu vaccine becomes less effective over time, a phenomenon known as “waning immunity.” To continually protect yourself and others, you should receive a flu vaccination each year.


Myth: I can’t get my flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine

Fact: Flu vaccinations can be administered safely at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.

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