It’s not uncommon for people to make up excuses to forgo their annual flu shot, but it’s time to put an end to these baseless justifications and commit to protecting ourselves and our communities against the flu.
Last year, less than half of all Americans (40 percent) received a a flu shot1 despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone over six months of age get the vaccine.2 Those who avoid getting their seasonal flu shot typically have many different reasons for not getting vaccinated, whether it is a fear of needles, allergies, pregnancy, good health or myths about the flu vaccine.
In honor of National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 7-13), here are a few commonly cited excuses for not getting vaccinated:
I don’t have time to get my flu shot. I’m already too busy with my job/school/family.
Getting a flu shot takes just a few minutes. Your local pharmacy is well equipped to deliver flu shots quickly and efficiently to their clientele, so you should be in and out in a matter of minutes. Compared to the time you will be out of commission should you contract the flu, this short errand is nothing.3
I’m healthy, and I don’t think that getting a flu shot will make a difference.
Think again. The CDC estimated that flu vaccines prevented up to 79,000 flu hospitalizations and 6.6 million flu-associated illnesses last year alone. Getting the flu shot not only protects you, but ensures the health of your loved ones and everyone you come in contact with.3
I’ve heard that there are risks of allergic reaction involved.
Allergic reactions to the flu vaccine are literally about one in a million, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. People with egg allergies should not use the nasal spray, but can safely get a flu shot with the inactivated flu virus. There are also vaccines available that do not use any eggs at all.4
I’m pregnant – isn’t it dangerous for me to get a flu shot?
Pregnant women are actually at greater risk for the flu and flu-related complications, and the flu vaccine not only protects the mother, but also the child for the first six months of his or her life. Pregnant women should not get a flu vaccination delivered by nasal spray, but the CDC encourages mothers-to-be to receive the inactivated flu shot.4
Don’t flu shots give you the flu?
No, they don’t. Flu shots delivered with PharmaJet’s Needle-Free Jet Injector or with the standard needle and syringe method contain an inactivated virus. You can’t become infected with a virus when it is inactivated: these viruses are not capable of causing infection when properly delivered. The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated.3
I feel uncomfortable around needles.
Needle-phobia affects millions of Americans, and we understand that needles can be a scary or uncomfortable way to receive a vaccine. PharmaJet’s Needle-Free Jet Injector delivers the flu shot to adults ages 18-64 without the use of a needle. Not using needles creates a comfortable experience for the patient, and also eliminates the risk of needlestick injuries, needle reuse, cross-contamination and spread of infectious disease.5
I waited too long, it’s not worth it to get my flu shot now.
It is never too late to get your flu shot. Flu outbreaks can occur as early as October and last well into the spring. Flu season’s peak month is January, so while it’s a good idea to get vaccinated as early as possible, it’s impossible to wait too long to get a flu shot.4 Flu strains vary year to year, but people with strong immune systems can be protected for years after just one shot. It’s impossible to know for sure how long a flu shot will protect each individual because the immunity is dependent on many factors, so it’s better to be safe and get vaccinated every year.6
- “National Early Season Flu Vaccination Coverage, United States, November 2013.” CDC.gov. Web.
- “Vaccination: Who Should Do It, Who Should Not and Who Should Take Precautions.” CDC.gov. Web.
- “No Excuses for Skipping Your Annual Flu Shot.” UCSF.edu. Web.
- “10 Excuses for Not Getting a Flu Shot Busted.” EveryDayHealth.com. Web.
- “Needle-Free Syringes Eliminate Needlestick Injuries, Reduce Needle Reuse and Cross-Contamination.” PharmaJet.com. Web.
- “Ask Well: How Long Does a Flu Shot Last?” Well.Blogs.NYTimes.com. Web.