A flu shot is considered by many Americans to be a necessary evil. Yes, it can be a little painful if you don’t like needles, but getting vaccinated is an important step towards staying healthy. Nevertheless, despite the obvious health benefits of vaccination, many Americans have a deeply-rooted, and sadly misplaced, mistrust of vaccination—reservations that have nothing to do with a fear of needles.
For these people, there is too much uncertainty surrounding just what’s inside a flu shot, as well as the supposedly dangerous side-effects. The good news is that this fear is simply born out of misinformation—a problem remedied by effectively communicating about the contents of the flu vaccine itself.
Once you understand what’s inside of a typical vaccine and why these ingredients are important, you’ll find it easier to show up each year for that all-too-important vaccination.
Table of contents
Fight Virus with Virus
Yes: it’s true that your flu shot contains a few strands of the flu, but the key piece of information here is that those strands are dead. If you’re holding off of getting a flu vaccine due to fears of being made ill, rest easy. That’s a myth. The truth is, the worst most people have to be concerned about is a bit of soreness in your arm for a couple of days.
The virus strands are the important groundwork necessary for formulating a vaccine that will keep you from suffering the ill effects of the flu.
There are indeed egg proteins in some vaccines, as it isn't uncommon for flu vaccines to be developed in egg embryos. This often results in trace amounts of protein.
People with severe allergies to eggs can opt for an alternate version of the flu shot that's free of egg protein.
Water Quality Matters
As this is a flu shot, most of the solution injected into the body is actually water. Therefore, it’s absolutely important that the water used meet the WFI, or water for injection requirements.
As a matter of public health and safety, the water used in vaccines is among the purest water available, which can significantly reduce the possibility of infections or development of an unrelated illness.
Formaldehyde In Flu Shots Isn’t Harmful
This ingredient is why the virus strands in your typical flu shot is dead and can’t actively infect you. It makes the virus ineffective, and unable to make you sick.
There is an anti-vaccination myth related to formaldehyde, suggesting that there is enough in the standard flu shot to make you sick or even give you cancer. In actuality, the amount used is miniscule; there’s simply far too little of it to make you remotely ill.
Flu Shot Ingredients Help Rather Than Harm
There are so many variations of the flu shot today that if you have an allergy (as was the case with egg proteins), you’ll likely be able to find the right flu shot for you. Nevertheless, there are various myths circulating among members of the public concerning vaccine ingredients and their effects on the body.
One such myth is that the flu shot isn't recommended for women who are pregnant. In actuality, the flu shot is safe for women who are pregnant and expectant mothers are advised by the CDC to get vaccinated.
It's important to remember that the flu vaccine is carefully formulated with ingredients that will work together to make you better. The flu shot won’t make you sick; instead, it’s meant to keep you from catching the flu.
The technology behind developing the flu shot improves every year. How much sense does it make to avoid vaccination based on outdated and thoroughly debunked information?
Why Fight Progress?
There is a dangerous belief that the flu is harmless, and that it’s better to risk catching it than to opt for a flu shot. In actuality, the flu is responsible for persons being hospitalized with flu-related complications.
Each year, thousands of people die as a result of the flu or complications related to having contracted the flu—and the worst part of this is that flu-related deaths are highly preventable thanks to medical advancements.
It’s important to ask questions and get the facts, rather than be deterred from a potentially life-saving flu shot by fear and misinformation.