Skip to main content

Addressing Flu Myths and Misconceptions

Published on December 1, 2020

flu vaccine myths

Below are some common myths and misconceptions about the flu vaccine. The following information is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?

No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu shots are made with either inactivated (killed) viruses or with only a single protein from the flu virus. The nasal spray vaccine contains live viruses that are weakened so that they will not cause illness.


Why do some people not feel well after getting a flu vaccine?

Some people may have mild side effects after getting a flu vaccination. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after vaccination and are mild and short-lived. The most common reactions people have to flu vaccines are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by the actual flu.


I received a flu vaccine, but I had flu symptoms weeks or months later. Why?

There are many reasons why someone might get flu symptoms even after they have been vaccinated against the flu.

  • Some people can become sick from other respiratory viruses that are not influenza.
  • People can be exposed to flu viruses shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection.
  • Some people may have been exposed to a flu virus that is different from the viruses the vaccine is designed to protect against.
  • Flu vaccines vary in how well they work, and some people who get vaccinated still get sick.


Is it too late to get a flu vaccine after Thanksgiving?

No. Vaccination can still be beneficial as long as flu viruses are circulating. Getting a flu vaccine can still beneficial in December or later. Seasonal flu disease usually peaks between December and March most years, but disease can occur as late as May.

To learn more, visit

Found in: Influenza Wellness