The Washington Post debunks the myths and misconceptions about the flu shot.

Some people avoid getting the vaccine because they don’t think it works well enough to be worth it. Some think they are too healthy to need it. And some worry it will make them sick, possibly remembering a time when they got the shot and fell ill soon after.

“That’s the one I always hear from the taxi driver and the person at the grocery store: ‘The flu vaccine is going to give me the flu,’?” says Mark Thompson, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “That is a persistent myth.”

Despite years of consistent messages from health-care providers about the dangers of the flu and the protective power (and safety) of the flu shot, many people still hold false beliefs about both. One reason is that the flu, technically called influenza, encompasses a complicated and ever-changing group of viruses, says William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.