There is a lot of misinformation circulating about vaccinations, some of it due to pure ignorance, some of it from misrepresentations spread by the anti-vaccination movement. That is why it is especially important for pharmacists to counter the myths and falsehoods surrounding vaccines by talking to patients and giving them the facts.
Misconceptions About the Flu
Two of the most prominent misconceptions about vaccinations are that it can give people the flu and that it is ineffective if targeting the wrong viral strains.
It is impossible to catch the flu from the vaccine, according to physicians. If you happen to become ill a week or two after getting the vaccine, it is just a coincidence. The two things are not connected. At most, some people may feel minor discomfort after getting the vaccination.
Some people also believe that the vaccine is useless if it protects against the wrong strains of the virus. But this is not true either. Even if the vaccine is not a good match for the viruses that are actually circulating, it still protects individuals, as well as the population in general.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have reported that last year’s vaccine was not a particularly good match for the strains that were circulating, being only about 30 percent effective. It is still too early to tell how well this year’s vaccine will match with the virus. Healthcare officials will need to see what kinds of cases of the flu are being reported. The vaccine administered this year is designed to protect against three strains of the virus that are believed to be the most common – A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1), A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2), and B/Colorado/06/2017(Victoria lineage).
Being vaccinated does help you avoid infection, and if you should contract the flu, the symptoms will not be as severe because of the vaccine. Moreover, the effects of the vaccine are cumulative – people who have been vaccinated every year are better protected than those just getting vaccinated for the first time.
The CDC recommends flu vaccinations for everyone six months of age and older who do not have any contraindications, and recommends that it should be offered by the end of October.
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