Doctor's Note: Debunking myths about the flu vaccine

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As we get closer to winter, the flu virus combined with COVID-19 continues to be a major worry among health experts, but there is one way to fight back: flu shots.

The flu vaccine shows your immune system the blueprint of the virus. You get the shot, you build antibodies and in about two weeks you have protection against the flu.

Does the vaccine actually work?

In 2018-19, vaccinations prevented 4.4 million influenza cases, 6,500 hospitalizations, and 3,500 deaths, according to the CDC.

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As if the COVID-19 crisis isn't enough, state and local health officials are gearing up for another major threat, the upcoming flu season.

Can you still get the flu if you get a vaccine?

Yes, but getting the vaccine lowers your chances of getting the flu and it also protects you against coming down with a serious case of the flu. Healthy people can still become very sick or they can pass it on to someone else who is at higher risk.

Can't the flu shot cause the flu?

No, it's not possible. It can cause side effects like a sore arm and a headache but not the flu.

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Does the flu shot have dangerous ingredients?

Every ingredient is studied very carefully by health officials.

If you still have questions, ask your doctor or another reputable source. The flu shot this year may be the difference between an overwhelmed healthcare system and one that will be able to take care of another coronavirus surge.

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