No More Excuses: You Need a Flu Vaccine!


Each year, I talk to patients, family and friends about common reasons for not getting an annual flu vaccine. And each year, I know plenty of people who come down with the flu. Let’s take a few moments to go through the facts and you’ll realize there’s no excuse not to get a flu vaccine this season.

Vaccination is the first and most important step in protection against the flu. Everyone aged six months and older should get a flu shot each year to protect themselves and their loved ones. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune system to fully respond and for you to be protected. So before everyone around you has a runny nose, sort throat, or cough, it’s best to get your flu vaccine now.

Anyone can become sick with the flu and experience serious complications. Older people, young children, pregnant women and those with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease are at especially high risk from the flu, but kids, teens and adults who are active and healthy also can get the flu and become very ill from it. Flu viruses are unpredictable, and every season puts you at risk. Besides, you might be around someone who’s at high risk from the flu … a baby … your grandparents, or even a friend. You don’t want to be the one spreading flu, do you?

So, now that we know that even healthy people get the flu every year, one of the top concerns I’ve heard is, “I got a flu shot once and still got sick.” Even if you got vaccinated, there are reasons why you might have felt flu-like symptoms. You may have been exposed to a non-flu virus before or after you got vaccinated. Or, you might have been exposed to flu after you got vaccinated but before the vaccine took effect.

One thing is for certain: the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The most common side effects from a flu shot are a sore arm and maybe a low fever or achiness, though some may experience congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or cough. If you do experience them at all, these side effects are mild and short-lived. And that’s much better than getting sick and missing several days of school or work, or possibly getting a very severe illness and needing to go to the hospital.

Talk to your doctor today about which flu vaccine is right for you. Flu vaccines have been given for more than 50 years and they have a very good safety track record. They are closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. And hundreds of millions of flu vaccines have been given safely.

To find a flu clinic near you, check out the Flu Vaccine Finder at This season, let’s stop making excuses, and instead, help protect ourselves and those in our lives by getting a flu vaccine. For more information, please visit


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