Health experts seek to debunk flu shot myths

Posted at 9:25 AM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 11:26:47-04

NEW YORK – Florida health officials say a child is the first death in the state during this year’s flu season.

Health experts emphasize a flu shot is the best way to protect against the virus but many parents are still skeptical or misinformed about the vaccine.

Dr. Eric Teitel, who was getting a flu shot at his local pharmacy, says he does whatever he can to stay healthy. “The flu can be a very deadly disease especially as we get older and in younger age groups.”

Flu vaccines are recommended for anyone over 6 months of age, but a new national survey shows many parents question the safety and effectiveness.

Orlando Health reports that 53% of those who responded to a survey believe flu vaccines can cause children to get sick with flu while 34% believe the flu vaccine doesn’t work.

“You cannot get flu from the flu vaccine. This vaccine and others do not give you autism,” said Dr. William Schaffner with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. ” Influenza vaccine is safe.”

“Each year we have many of cases of influenza among children, and some of those children sadly die. And most of those children are unvaccinated,” Dr. Schaffner added.

Last year’s flu season was the deadliest in at least four decades with 80,000 people dying from the flu and its complications.

The time to get the flu vaccine is now with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that everyone get vaccinated before the end of October.

“The flu virus is out there, it’s just getting started. You know, after you get vaccinated, it takes about ten days, two weeks, for your protection to build up,” Dr. Schaffner said.

“The more people who get flu shots, the less people who are able to get the flu,” said Joseph Gilbert who gets a flu shot every year. He added he hopes more people make it a priority.

Click here to learn more about the flu from the CDC’s website.

-Tom Hanson reporting for CBS News