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Common myths about the flu

Healthy people don’t get flu !

Anyone can get flu! Generally, around 15 to20% of the population get flu every year – including healthy people like you. Even if you are healthy, and you get flu you can still pass flu on to others, particularly those at more serious risk of infection and complications.

Flu is a mild illness!

For the majority of people that is the case. Each year, however, a number of individuals are admitted to hospital with confirmed flu requiring intensive care management, some of whom sadly die due to pneumonia or other complications of flu.

The side effects of the vaccine are really bad!

Side effects are usually mild. There may be some pain, redness and swelling locally which usually lasts for 24-48 hours.

The flu jab can give you flu!

The vaccine does not contain any live viruses so it is impossible for it to give you flu.

I have had the flu jab before so I don’t need it again!

The vaccine and circulating strains change most years so you do need to be immunised each year.

I had to go off sick after the vaccine last year!

This may have been the cold or another bug. The vaccine takes 10 days to work, so you may have been unlucky and caught the flu just before getting vaccinated. It was not the vaccine.

The flu jab isn’t safe!

The risk of having a serious (anaphylactic) reaction is less than one in a million.

I can’t have the flu jab because I am pregnant!

The flu vaccine can be safely given to women at any stage of pregnancy. The sooner in the flu season that you are immunised the sooner you (and your baby) are protected.

It hasn’t been properly tested!

The seasonal flu vaccine is one of the safest vaccines in the world and is given to millions of people in the UK each year. The specific strains of flu that are included may change from one year to the next but that does not affect the safety of the vaccine or change it in any other way

You’re infectious after having the jab, so you shouldn’t have close contact with anyone for a period of time after you’re immunised!

The vaccine won’t make you infectious to anyone, so it’s safe to carry on as normal