DENVER — Fall marks the beginning of flu season and the return of people explaining why they decide to get — or forgo — the flu vaccine.
There are a number of myths surrounding the flu shot. One of the most common is that the vaccine will cause someone to get the flu.
According to a national study of 700 parents conducted by Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital, more than half of respondents thought the flu shot could cause the flu. One-third of respondents did not believe the flu vaccine worked.
The study subjects were parents with kids under the age of 18.
“The parts of the virus that are used are completely dead, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” Jean Moorjani, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children said in a press release. “After receiving the shot, it takes your body about two weeks to build up antibodies to fight the flu, so if you come in contact with the virus during that time, you may still get sick, which is why you should get your flu shot as early as possible.”
Moorjani said people have concerns when it comes to receiving any medication or vaccine.
“Because information can come from so many places, from friends and family to the internet, it’s important to talk to a doctor you trust to get credible information that is based in science and facts.”
The hospital’s study also found that 28 percent of respondents thought the flu shot caused autism.
“After years of research, we know that the flu vaccine is safe,” said Moorjani. “The flu shot does not cause autism or any other diseases or illnesses. Doctors recommend the flu shot because it is the best way to protect you and your family from the flu.”
The hospital said that any healthy person over 6 months old should get the flu shot.
“Getting vaccinated not only protects those who get the shot, but also vulnerable populations who can’t be vaccinated, such as infants,” the hospital said. It also recommended children under 8 years old who are receiving the shot for the first time should get two doses spaced a month apart to build their immunity.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, more than two-thirds of the 183 American children who died from the flu last year were also unvaccinated.