Yahoo News Explains: Common misconceptions about the flu

Kayla Jardine
Associate Producer

Another flu season is upon us. Last year was the deadliest flu season in more than four decades, killing an estimated 80,000 Americans.  

The Centers for Disease Control put out its annual recommendations for this season, advising everyone over 6 months old to get the vaccine.

“Flu is a disease that needs to be taken seriously,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

If you’re still second-guessing the shot, here’s what you should know: 

“A flu shot cannot give you the flu,” according to the CDC. This is because the vaccine is either an ‘inactivated version’ of the virus or has no flu vaccine viruses at all.  

If you do find yourself sick after you get the vaccine, that’s probably because you were already exposed to it or came in contact with a strain of the flu that wasn’t included in this year’s vaccine.  

While the Surgeon General urges people to get the shot, it’s still unknown if President Trump has recently been vaccinated.   


It’s still unknown if President Trump has recently been vaccinated.  

In 2015 he told reporters, “ I don’t like the idea of injecting bad stuff into [my] body. I have friends that religiously get the flu shot, and then they get the flu…”

Historians believe misconceptions about the illness date back to the 1976 swine flu vaccine fiasco.  

The government did a massive campaign and even signed legislation to get people vaccinated against what was thought to be a deadlier form of Spanish influenza, but the CDC was wrong about the strain. 

After being vaccinated, dozens died and over 400 people came down with the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Even though more is known about viruses today, there’s still a long shadow looming from the 1976 debacle.  

The CDC warns that the biggest risk is not getting vaccinated at all.