I know the effectiveness and safety of flu vaccines are a hot-button issue so I wanted to share this article from a science writer debunking common myths about flu shots.
It is written by science journalist Tara Haelle, and recommended as a good read by my friend and favorite science writer Maryn McKenna, who Is Senior Fellow at Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and Science of Health columnist and contributing editor at Scientific American.
Haelle, has gone through and addressed 25 myths about flu shots. I can only pull a few but you should go and read her entire article on her site. She links out to other articles and explains why the myths are not true. I pulled some of the ones I hear the most from other parents.
“First, an important note: I am a science journalist but not a medical doctor. I’ve compiled research here to debunk common myths about the flu vaccine. You should always consult a reliable, trusted medical professional with questions that pertain specifically to you. For the CDC recommendations on the 2013-2014 flu vaccines (including information on which vaccines pregnant women, the elderly and children under 2 should *not* get), please consult the CDC site directly.”
“Myth #1: The flu vaccine gives you the flu or makes you sick. (No, it doesn’t.)
“Myth #2: Flu vaccines contains dangerous ingredients, such as mercury, formaldehyde and antifreeze. (Not exactly, and the ingredients aren’t dangerous.)
“Myth #6: Flu vaccines don’t work. (Um, they do work.)
“Myth #7: Flu vaccines don’t work for children. (Again, they work.)
“Myth #12: The flu vaccine weakens your body’s immune response. (It actually strengthens it.)
“Myth #16: People don’t die from the flu unless they have another underlying condition already. (Actually, healthy people DO die from the flu.)
“Myth #17: People with egg allergies cannot get the flu shot. It will kill them! (No, it won’t, and there’s an egg-free vaccine.)
“Myth #23: Making a new vaccine each year only makes influenza strains stronger. (No, it doesn’t.)”
So what do you think? Are you afraid of flu vaccines? Do you think they really don’t work? Does this help convince you otherwise? Does your family get flu shots?