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CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez Dispels Flu Shot Myths; Vaccine Critical To Prevent 'Twin-Demic' When Flu Overlaps With COVID-19

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year, with the coronavirus pandemic still raging. Yet, misinformation about flu vaccines continues to spread.

CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez dispels the top flu shot myths.

Doctors fear a "twin-demic" this fall and winter - an overlap of the flu and COVID-19.

They have very similar early symptoms, but their treatment is much different. Plus, the flu can make COVID much worse - and you can get both at the same time.

That's why the flu shot is critical this year.

RELATED STORY: Health Experts: Demand For Flu Shots Is Higher Than Expected, So Public Urged To Get One Sooner Rather Than Later

The most prevalent flu shot myth is likely, "You can get the flu from the flu vaccine."

"Most flu vaccines are just a piece of a protein from the virus. So, it is impossible for you to get the flu after getting a flu shot," said Dr. Jennifer Lighter of NYU Langone Health.

In other words, the flu shot contains only dead virus, which is also why Dr. Lighter says you cannot be contagious after getting a flu shot.

You might feel a little arm soreness or have a low fever after a flu shot. That's your immune system responding to the vaccine, but it's not the flu.


Next myth: "Flu shots don't work."

While the shot's effectiveness is generally around 50%, it's still important.

"They're very effective at preventing severe disease if you do get the flu virus. So, they have a dramatic effect on hospitalization and ICU care," said Lighter.

Another common myth: "Healthy people don't need a flu shot."

Anyone can get the flu.

While healthy people may be less likely to suffer serious complications or die from the flu, perfectly healthy young people die of the flu every year.

In fact, more children have died of the flu this year than of COVID-19.

Dr. Gomez says everyone six months and older, including pregnant women, should get a flu shot unless you have an egg allergy, are immunocompromised or have had a previous vaccine complication.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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