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VA | 5 Flu Vaccine Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Uploaded 07/07/2015

5 Flu Vaccine Myths You Shouldn’t Believe
Tens of thousands die each year of flu and pneumonia. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.
In this video, we debunk five flu vaccine myths:
  • Myth 1: The flu shot can give you the flu.

  • Myth 2: The flu is just a bad version of the cold.

  • Myth 3: I am healthy, I don’t need the vaccine.

  • Myth 4: I already had the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine.

  • Myth 5: The side effects of the flu shot are worse than the flu.

So when it’s time, get your flu shot. Flu shots are available for Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Check with your nearest VA health care facility or call 1-877-222-8387 to confirm supply.

(c)2015 VA | SCVTV
28 Comments for VA: 5 Flu Vaccine Myths You Shouldn’t Believe
  1. During 2013 – 2014 flu season, CDC reported approximately 36,619 cases of influenza [1]. With a population of 318.9 million that is 0.00011% chance of getting influenza vs 4% chance of influenza like illness from the Agriflu vaccine. [2]

    2. [page 4]

  2. Never had a flu shot and never will . Either have any of my grown children. My husband has and ended up with the flu twice that year.
    If we feel sickness coming on we take tons of vita D and the next day were fine. Been doing this for a decade now .

    • So interesting, because this myth busting video says you should still get the influenza vaccine even if you already had the flu so you don’t get sick twice and that is exactly what happened to your husband. Thank the good lord he did not end up paralyzed by Guillain-Barré syndrome or worse.

    • Yep I know. It also angers me when you drive by walgreens in the middle of summer and you see flu shot advertizements. We dont need these shots. People just need to wash their hands more . Im a nut about washing my hands and so are my kids , im pretty sure thats why we dont get sick . The habit has rubbed off on my husband and he doesnt get sick like he used to either.

  3. No thanks, I’ll pass for the 38th year…in a row

  4. It is only 20% effective right now.

  5. The flu vaccine doesnt get you sick?

    More than a dozen different flu vaccines to choose from. Please feel free to read the package inserts and you will see the very first statement out of Larry Collins mouth, that flu vaccines don’t make you sick, is not reflected in the science.


    My wife Megan Renee Gilman got a flu shot last year to avoid getting the flu.
    After the shot immediately felt sick the next day and it seems she had the flu!!!

    I chose not to get a flu shot!
    I didn’t get sick until I was taking care of my wife and caught it from her 2 weeks later!

    The problem is with science, you think you’re right… until you know you’re wrong!

  7. FluMist is also a live virus, so Myth 1 is not really a myth if you use FluMist nasal mist vaccine.

    • Willis, your PhD in immunology is from which university? You are showing a blatant disregard for science and clearly don’t understand that a weakened, live virus can not get you substantially sick. And if your immune system is so compromised that a weakened virus does get you sick, you are a prime candidate for the flu vaccine because the actual flu would likely leave you extremely ill or dead. My goal is not to change your mind, but to give credible information for those undecided that are still gathering information.

    • Cute Jennifer. Ad Hominem attack is evidence that you have no argument. It is particularly cute because I don’t see any evidence you hold a PhD in immunology either, not that it matters, all that is necessary is the ability to read.

      FluMist is in fact a live virus, it says so right in the package insert. If you read the package insert you will also find that it has never been tested on immunocompromised so whether or not they are a prime candidate or not is unknown.

    • I don’t have a PhD in immunology, but I do have a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and genetics and have 20 years experience working with universities and biotech companies. I speak almost daily with PhD level scientists (including immunologists) and they don’t share your concern.

      My understanding is that the FluMist is not given to the immunocompromised, instead a standard flu shot would be given, but that is not my area of expertise.

      The insert states “live(attenuated) antigen”. Attenuated means weakened. I never stated the flu mist was not a live virus, but I also stated that it was a weakened virus. I don’t think it is a stretch that if a weakened virus makes you sick, a full strength virus could cause additional complications. But I admit, I have not looked into publications to support that claim, so I agree, I am guilty of not backing up that particular statement. Feel free to disregard, it’s really not relevant to the discussion, although I am tempted to search for just such a study, it would be interesting to see if this has been studied in control groups.

      Studies have shown that live, attenuated virus vaccines are a safe alternative, and they do not contain thiomersal, which some people would like to avoid.

      Credible information from the CDC is linked below.

    • Guy in video said flu vaccine is not a live virus, My comment was in response to that claim to point out that its not that simple., then you claimed I was wrong.

      Thimerosal is still used as a preservative in multi dose flu vaccine which is more common than the single dose alternative. People who wish to avoid thimerosal should demand single dose version.

    • Regarding your original comment, the CDC, directly states the following in response to the nasal spray flu vaccination’s ability to cause the flu.
      No. While the nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses (unlike the flu shot), the viruses are attenuated (weakened) and cannot cause flu illness.

      I cannot edit my earlier reply, but I did realize after posting my misspelling for thimerosal.

    • I am not sure you misspelled thimerosal, it appeared you used the non US spelling. “Thiomersal”. I am not a grammar nazi so I will not attempt to win debate in that manner.

      While they claim that these live attenuated virus can not cause the illness they generally say it causes “flu like symptoms” and then when you read the list of symptoms they are the same as the symptoms of the flu. So to me its the same thing + risk of GBS

      Generally where vaccine studies are concerned the only control is another vaccine. it is considered unethical to not vaccinate someone so they refuse to do double blind placebo study. I do not know if this is also the case for influenza.

  8. Anyone with a High School diploma who paid mild attention in Biology knows that anytime a vaccine is given there is always a possibility of coming down with the illness by which you were vaccinated. That is a scientific fact. Also the CDC itself claims the Vaccine effectiveness for last year was less then 20%, meaning 80%+ of those who received it STILL GOT THE FLU!

    • It is not scientific fact. Many vaccines contain killed virus and you can not get the illness from those. Luckily, vaccines are developed by individuals that have studied more than high school biology.

      The flu is dissimilar to other viruses that are vaccinated for because it continually changes as it spreads across the world. Scientists do their best to predict the likely changes based on early evidence of the flu mutations. I interpret that data to mean – 20% did NOT get the flu after vaccination. That’s amazing and saved many lives. On average, 3000 to 49,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to complications from the flu. So, even a less effective version of the vaccine (20%) still saved between 600 to 10,000 people in the U.S. Wow!

    • Thanks for the lesson. I think everyone knows that influenza is a moving target.

      There are more than a dozen different influenza vaccines manufactured by a half dozen companies. Every single one whether inactivated or live virus lists among side effects

      Fever, headache, Sore Throat, Muscle Ache

      Which is interesting because these are the same symptoms this myth busting video lists for influenza. So, you can pretend that nobody can get the illness from the vaccine, but I can read between the lines.

      People who die from influenza complications are likely immunocompromised and since influenza vaccine has never been tested on immunocompromised I am not sure that we know how many lives have been saved or not.

    • Willis, unfortunately, not everyone knows that influenza is a moving target. This is a posting on SCVTV, not a technology or science site.

      The flu mist is not recommended for the immunocompromised. However, the standard flu shot is recommended.

    • Agriflu (an inactive influenza virus vaccine) manufactured by Novartis says on page 4 of the package insert that 4% of the vaccine recipients reported influenza-like illness

    • I am not here to tell anyone to use or not to use the influenza vaccine. But SCVTV did a very poor job with little to zero research to present this puff piece pushing the flu shot.

      Informed consent requires that one be informed.

    • Willis, I totally agree with you on informed consent. And I’m actually fairly neutral about the flu vaccine specifically. Since SCVTV is a local news source, I didn’t want anyone to read the comments and dismiss the vaccine without additional information. But I do agree that anyone considering the flu vaccine should consult with their healthcare professional or other credible source of information.

  9. Flu Vaccine is one of the only vaccines that still uses mercury (thimerosal) as a preservative and its recommended starting at 6 months of age.

    Please see the Thimerosal timeline at the CDC, and scroll down to the year 2000 and click on the link “experts meet at the Simpsonwood Retreat Center” and read some choice quotes on thimerosal.

    Guillain-Barré syndrome is no joke either. How many people have been compensated via the NVICP (National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program)

    How many families have been compensated via NVICP for death from the Flu Vaccine which was said to only be 15% effective this year.

    • NVICP is a joke and has nothing to do with science. Please don’t mistake payouts via the NVICP with credible, peer-reviewed publications.

    • NVICP is a joke except to the thousands who have been paid out over 3 billion dollars and the thousands of others who have been denied compensation, denied discovery, and denied a trial by jury.

      Congress passed a law in 1986 granting vaccine manufacturers complete immunity for vaccine injury, and set up the NVICP to compensate those injured by vaccines. (National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act)

      Science shows Guillain-Barré syndrome and death are associated with influenza vaccines.

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