OCHD Shares “Just the Facts” Surrounding the Flu and Vaccines
(Toms River) – Can a flu vaccine give you the flu? Does the flu vaccine cover all strains of flu? Do I need a flu shot every year? These are the three most asked questions we hear at the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) by our residents every flu season. Sometimes it’s a little surprising for people when they hear our answer because they may have recall old myths or been fed misinformation by the internet or social media.
“People should do their homework when it comes to their families’ health and safety. And when it comes to the flu it’s understandable that individuals have so many questions when it comes to the facts,” says Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “Trust the health experts. They can decipher the facts from myths and help understand what’s the best course for you.”
Probably the biggest question we hear every year is if the flu vaccine can actually give you the flu. The answer is no. Flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines administered with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or b) using only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection.
But why do some people say they feel sick after they receive the vaccine?
What about getting a flu shot every year? Yes, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot yearly. It’s important to remember that a person’s immune protection from vaccines wears down over time so annual vaccination is recommended to get the most optimal protection against the flu.
“The bottom line is that flu vaccines can and do save lives,” says Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator. It’s important to speak with your health care provider if you need more information and facts regarding any vaccines. Remember, the internet doesn’t always have the best information that would pertain specifically to you or your family.”
To learn more about the facts behind the flu or for our clinics’ schedule, please visit the OCHD website at www.ochd.org or follow us on Twitter@OCpublichealth or follow us on Facebook. Also, please check out our new website at www.phu2.org, to access and learn more about our Public Health is You Too! campaign to help equip you to take simple steps to improve your health.