Every year during flu season, there’s often that lie that starts circulating: “The last time I got the flu shot, it gave me the flu.”
However, officials say that’s a myth that the influenza vaccine has a live virus in it, meaning it cannot give you the flu. The CDC states that if administered by needle, the vaccine is either made up of a dead virus or a single protein from the virus. Therefore, no injected flu vaccine this year will give you the illness; you might have some side effects. According to the CDC, common side effects of this year’s shot include:
– Soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site
– Headache (low grade)
– Muscle aches
Abby Arthur and Heather Lundstrom, two pharmacists who work in Mount Airy, shared about how all influenza shots for the 2023 season are quadrivalent. This means that there are four strains of the influenza virus in this year’s composition. Each year, the influenza vaccine is developed six months before the start of the flu season. The vaccines this year are protecting against the most prominent strains of the flu virus from last year, with data pulled from influenza infections starting as early as September and as late as February. “Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October,” according to the CDC’s website.
Immunizations not only prevent the disease, but in some cases, vaccines also weaken viruses to where they are non-detectable in people, the CDC recommends that everyone should get a flu shot, especially those 65 and older and school-aged children. Influenza is deadly to those with weakened and compromised immune systems. Flu shots are administered at any doctor’s office or licensed pharmacy, oftentimes free through insurance.
Outside of clinics, flu shots are normally given at check-up appointments at the doctor’s, or you can make an appointment or walk into most pharmacies or pharmacies at grocery stores. Flu vaccines are available now until the end of January, but the flu shot season ends after Thanksgiving. They are free with most insurance, and the process normally takes less than 20 minutes.
Well into the season, a few students around campus were asked questions about this year’s vaccine, but are students taking the virus seriously this year? About half of the participants had gotten their flu shot, and all of them understood the basics of the flu shot. “I think it’s just what scientists assume the new mutation of the flu is going to be and sometimes they’re wrong,” said Zoe Bronson, 21, of Frederick and a psychology major. . “Yes, I plan on getting a flu shot so that I am safe during the upcoming season,” said Emily McNally, 21, of Mount Airy and a general education major.
For more information about the flu vaccine, go to https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/flushot.htm