Flu, COVID-19 and vaccination... Let's debunk the myth!

Flu vaccination: a wise decision to make

Every fall, thousands of Canadians wonder if they should get a flu shot. It's an important question that deserves careful consideration. While the flu may seem like a simple infection, in reality it can wreak havoc, especially for more vulnerable populations. In fact, it results in hospitalizations and even deaths every year in Canada and elsewhere.

Vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way to protect against serious respiratory infections such as those caused by COVID-19 and the flu. The flu vaccine must be given every year, as the specific strains used must be reviewed annually to provide the best possible protection. The immune response to this vaccine is transient and does not last for more than a year. It is still unclear how long the COVID-19 vaccines will provide protection. Studies are underway to determine this.

When it comes to health, the sources of information consulted are critical. There is so much information out there about vaccines that it can be very difficult to keep track. The most reliable information is that which is based on scientific data and on the official recommendations of public health authorities.


"I'm vaccinated against COVID-19, so I don't need a flu shot."

FALSE: The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against the flu, and vice versa. They are two separate vaccines that target specific viruses: the coronavirus (in the case of COVID-19) and influenza (in the case of the flu). To protect against both infections, you need to receive both vaccines.

"Since I'm generally healthy, I don't need a flu shot."

FALSE: First, it is important to clarify that being healthy does not eliminate the risk of getting a virus, including coronavirus and influenza. Anyone can become very ill with one of these viruses and experience complications of varying degrees of severity.

The flu shot should be considered for everyone six months of age and older unless contraindicated, regardless of a person's health. That said, it is true that certain groups of individuals who are more vulnerable to the consequences of the flu should consider it even more seriously. By getting a flu shot, you reduce your risk of getting the disease and spreading it to others who are at higher risk.

"If I get the flu shot, I will be more likely to get COVID-19, or I will have stronger symptoms if I get the virus."

FALSE: Contrary to popular belief, getting a vaccine does not weaken the immune system. It actually helps you develop effective protection against a specific virus. By receiving the flu vaccine, you will be protected against the infection without further predisposing you to having COVID-19 and its complications.

"I just received the COVID-19 vaccine. It's too soon to get the flu vaccine."

FALSE: There is no interval between the two vaccines. You can get the flu shot any time before or after you get the COVID-19 shot.

"In the interest of saving time, I can arrange to receive the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time."

TRUE: Yes, both vaccines can be given at the same time. However, if they are given simultaneously, the injection sites must be separate (for example, one on the left arm and one on the right arm). Additionally, the vaccinator must use a different syringe and needle for each vaccine.

"If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine in a short interval or concurrently, I am more likely to have side effects."

FALSE: Based on currently available data, there is no reason to believe that receiving both vaccines at the same time increases the risk of experiencing side effects. That said, like any medication, each of these vaccines alone can cause some effects that are usually mild and transient (e.g., redness, swelling or tenderness at the injection site). Serious side effects are very rare. Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about the possible side effects of vaccines.

"When I have questions about vaccines, I should always consult my pharmacist."

TRUE: As a health and medication expert, your pharmacist is a well-suited healthcare professional to provide insight and answer all your questions. They can help you carefully weigh the benefits and risks on whether or not to get vaccinated. Ultimately, you are the person responsible for your health, and it is your role to seek out competent and trustworthy professionals!


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Flu, COVID-19 and vaccination... Let's debunk the myth!

Getting a vaccine is an important choice. When it comes to the flu and COVID-19, you need to be well prepared to make an informed decision.
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