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Fact and fiction when it comes to flu shots

Posted at 5:04 PM, Oct 22, 2019

With every flu season, we see misinformation.

One recent Facebook post that spread said people who get the flu shot should stay home for two weeks and avoid touching others because they are a walking virus. Our partners at PolitiFact found that not to be true, based on the fact that the shot doesn’t contain an active virus and an inactivated virus cannot transmit infection.

Here are some flu truths

It does take about two weeks for the vaccine to protect you, so some people who get sick after a flu shot were going to get ill anyway.

Sometimes people catch some other respiratory virus with symptoms similar to the flu or they may have been exposed to a different flu virus than the ones their vaccine protects against.

We’ve also learned fairly recently that the flu shot may provide less protection for obese people.

“It was not even a risk factor that we knew about until the 2009 pandemic and it became very clear through different types of studies that your overweight, obese populations were more likely to get severe influenza and end up hospitalized,” said Stacey Schultz-Cherry with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “The reason why we think that is, is because they’re almost like an immunocompromised or an elderly person. Their immune systems or their responses are not working as they should.”

The only people the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not get the flu vaccine are children younger than six months old, as well as people with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or an ingredient in it.

People should talk to their doctor before getting a flu shot if they aren't feeling well, if they have an egg allergy, or if they ever had a rare auto-immune disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Flu shot rewards

You can get extra rewards depending on where you get your flu shot.

The pharmacy inside Target will give you a $5 coupon to use at Target.

If you get your shot at CVS, you’ll get a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25.

Both deals are available until the end of December, while supplies last.