Influenza Vaccine for Health Care Workers: Common Myths

Myth number 1: "The flu vaccine can give me the flu"

Fact: Influenza vaccine only contains dead virus and cannot give you influenza.

Myth number 2: "The flu vaccine does not work"

Fact: For most influenza seasons the vaccine provides good protection for 70-90% of people who get it. For the remainder it can reduce the severity of illness and make complications from influenza less likely.

Myth number 3:
"Side effects from the vaccine are worse than getting the flu"

Fact: Most people do not get any side effects from the vaccine. Side effects, when they do occur, are usually minor and only last for one or two days, unlike influenza where symptoms are often severe and can last up to seven days.

Myth number 4: "I am not at risk of getting the flu"

Fact : If you work in a health care environment you may be up to 10 times more likely to get influenza, compared to other people in the community. 

Myth number 5: "The flu is not a serious disease"

Fact: Complications from influenza can be life threatening and include pneumonia, encephalopathy (inflammation of the brain) and worsening of chronic medical conditions (eg asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes). Even without complications influenza can be a debilitating infection.

Last reviewed: September 2020