Study: Misconceptions, fear kept nearly half of adults in Kentucky from getting flu shots in 2018

Posted at 1:08 AM, Dec 21, 2018

Kentuckians are a little confused about the influenza vaccine, according to the annual Kentucky Health Issues Poll. Nearly half of surveyed adults in the Bluegrass State neglected to be vaccinated in 2018 -- the majority of them because of mistaken beliefs about the shot itself.

Fifty-six percent of those who did not receive a shot cited what the survey called “a common misperception” about the vaccine to explain why they hadn’t done so. Those misperceptions included the belief that healthy people do not need a flu shot, that it is ineffective or that it can make the recipient sick.

None of these are correct, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The national health agency recommends every person over the age of six months receive the an annual flu vaccine unless they have certain autoimmune conditions or severe allergies to the vaccine’s ingredients. It is safe for everyone else.

Although some recipients may experience muscle soreness at the spot the shot was administered, no version of the vaccine contains live flu virus cells.

As for effectiveness: Doctors’ predictions of which flu strains will circulate each year are not always correct. The flu vaccine patients receive contains elements meant to protect them against “the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common,” according to the CDC.

Even if a person does become sick after vaccination, research shows those who are vaccinated develop less severe symptoms and recover more quickly than those who are not.