5 myths to debunk about flu vaccines
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it may seem like the only vaccination to prioritise is the Covid-19 vaccine. While this may be true, there is still one type of vaccination that you should be considering as a part of your routine health regime – seasonal flu vaccinations.
Flu vaccinations are a common vaccination most people would be familiar with. Made through inactivated forms of the flu virus, flu vaccines cause your bodies to develop antibodies around two weeks after vaccination, providing protection against infection. Many have the perception that the flu is a common condition, hence there is no need for vaccinations, but here are five key myths to debunk about flu vaccinations.
#1 Myth: Flu is a harmless infection
Truth: Flu can cause serious health complications and even be deadly
Flu is a respiratory infection that can cause severe complications and in certain cases be deadly. This is particularly so for vulnerable groups such as young children, older adults as well as people with certain medical conditions or chronic conditions.
While a flu vaccination might not be 100% effective in preventing the flu, it is still the best way to prevent the onset of flu and prevent any further complications from flu. Under the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) National Immunisation Schedule, it is recommended that one dose of influenza vaccination is recommended per year or per flu season.
#2 Myth: Since a flu vaccination is not 100% effective, it is not worth taking the vaccine
Truth: Flu vaccine is still the best way to prevent flu
Flu vaccinations efficacy can vary as it depends on the season as well as the age or health status of the person receiving the vaccine, and most importantly the match between the flu virus used in the vaccine and the current flu viruses that are in circulation.
A flu vaccine is the best way to prevent and protect oneself from flu. Studies show that flu vaccinations annually have many benefits beyond reducing the risk of flu. The vaccination can also reduce the risk of flu-related illnesses, flu-related hospitalisation and even the risk of flu-related death in vulnerable groups such as young children. During this Covid-19 pandemic, medical professionals and experts also encourage individuals to get vaccinated for the flu for optimal protection. This is because the symptoms of flu and Covid-19 are similar and not easily distinguishable, getting a flu vaccination can help protect oneself from flu and reduce the risk of falling sick.
#3 Myth: There is no need to be vaccinated for the flu annually, just once is sufficient
Truth: Flu vaccinations are to be taken annually.
A flu vaccination should be part of your routine annual vaccinations for two key reasons. Firstly, an individual’s immune protection from vaccination will decline with time, hence, to get optimal protection, flu vaccines should be taken annually. The next reason is related to the changing nature of flu viruses. Flu viruses may change, and the vaccines need to be updated to ensure that it is providing protection against the existing strain of flu virus circulating in the community. Hence, it’s important that flu vaccines are taken annually and not as one-off vaccinations.
#4 Myth: You can catch the flu from the flu vaccine
Truth: Flu vaccines cannot transmit the flu virus
Flu vaccines are made of inactivated forms of the flu virus, they cannot transmit infection. Often, if individuals fall ill or feel unwell after a flu vaccine there is a perception that the vaccine causes individuals to get sick or get the flu. This is not true and flu vaccines cannot cause flu.
#5 Myth: Healthy people do not need to get vaccinated
Truth: Everyone benefits from regular flu vaccinations – especially those with chronic conditions
If you are generally healthy, you may think there is no need to get a flu vaccination. However, a flu vaccination benefits everyone especially those with chronic illnesses. A flu vaccine can help reduce risk of flu-related illnesses, flu-related hospitalisation and other complications that can be detrimental to your health.
If you have yet to book your flu vaccination appointment, find out more about the suitable flu vaccination as well as other essential vaccinations.