Doctors 'Flabbergasted' That More Than Half Of Parents Think Flu Shot Causes The Flu

by Thea Glassman
Image via Nastco/Getty

A new study found that half of parents surveyed believe the flu shot causes the flu

Winter is creeping up on us which means that flu season is officially just around the corner. Orlando Health surveyed parents about the effectiveness of the flu shot and got some pretty head-scratching results. More than half the parents surveyed believed that the flu shot causes the flu. A third of the parents didn’t believe that the shot works at all.

Multiple doctors have weighed in to explain that that’s definitely not the case.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 172 kids died from the flu last year – which is the highest death toll in almost a decade. Approximately 80% of the children who died had not received their flu shot. Despite that alarming statistic, there’s still a substantial debate among parents about the merits of the flu shot.

Jean Moorjani, a board-certified pediatrician at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, explained that the flu shot doesn’t cause the flu at all.

“The parts of the virus that are used are completely dead, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” she said in a press release about the survey. “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.”

She also noted that the vaccine is safe and “does not cause autism or any other diseases or illnesses.”

Meanwhile, more doctors spoke to Yahoo Lifestyle about the survey’s findings and collectively agreed that these parents’ fears were unfounded. They were also pretty baffled by the results.

“I’m flabbergasted,” William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said. “I and many others have been saying for over 20 years that you can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. I don’t know how to say it any louder. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. That’s a myth.”

Schaffner noted that a very small percentage of people (like, one or two percent) will get a 24-hour fever after their shot. “That’s also not the flu,” he said. “It’s your body responding to the vaccine and starting to make protection.”

Also, the vaccine takes about two weeks to kick in, so if you get a cold right after the shot that has nothing to do with the vaccine. You must have already picked up an infection beforehand.

“There’s no reason to be nervous about getting your children vaccinated against the flu,” Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “You should be nervous about not getting your children vaccinated…by not vaccinating your child, you are putting your child’s life in danger.”