The number of patients getting seasonal flu vaccine in our clinics declines significantly around this time every year. Some of this is to be expected, as our patients receive the vaccine in other providers’ offices or at their local pharmacy. If you’re in this group, feel free to quit reading. If you have yet to be vaccinated for the 2018-2019 flu season, keep going.
Common myths about season flu vaccine
Myth #1: I’m pregnant but healthy so I don’t need flu vaccination.
TRUTH: Pregnant women are at higher risk of serious illness and one of the top high risk groups the CDC encourages to get vaccinated. Studies show that a baby whose mother was vaccinated during pregnancy is protected from flu infection for several months after they are born while they are too young to be vaccinated. Children under five–and especially under two (have any of those at your house?)–are at high risk of serious illness. Getting vaccinated yourself is a good way to help protect them.
Myth #2: I’m pregnant and a flu shot will increase my risk of miscarrying.
TRUTH: Vaccination doesn’t increase the risk of miscarriage or fetal anomalies. It has a very long track record of safety during pregnancy.
Myth #3: I got the flu from getting vaccinated.
TRUTH: You can’t get the flu from the vaccination – the vaccine is made with viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore can’t infect you. The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness and tenderness where the shot was given. There are other respiratory illnesses caused by other viruses and some people won’t become fully immune from one vaccination (but their symptoms are usually milder).
Myth #4: I got a vaccinated last year. Good enough.
TRUTH: Flu viruses are constantly changing and mutating. The CDC monitors flu viruses around the world and a new seasonal vaccine mix is made every year to prevent the most likely viruses to affect us.
Myth #5: Isn’t it too late to get vaccinated?
TRUTH: Nope, now is the time. Flu season typically peaks between December and March but influenza can occur as late as May.
Best news (besides protecting you and your loved ones from the flu): you don’t have to schedule a visit to get a vaccine. Most pharmacies offer vaccination, as does any WHA clinic (you can even get one after hours at select locations). If you’re already coming for a visit, please take the opportunity to get vaccinated. If these logical arguments don’t sway you, here’s our very own nurse-midwife Megan Madsen taking care of business!
For more information about Influenza, check out the CDC website.