False claims about the flu vaccine circulate in the Northeast

As flu cases rise in the Northeast, several local health departments have been promoting the flu vaccine on social media. The New York City Department of Health shared social media posts about the spike in flu cases and highlighted how getting vaccinated helps vulnerable groups. Some social media users commented on the posts claiming that the flu vaccine is ineffective.

Risk level: Medium

Recommendation: Though the comments are relatively few in number, lessening the risk, these types of online conversations promote the false claim that the flu vaccine doesn’t work. This narrative may discourage patients in the Northeast from getting this season's flu vaccine, and doctors in the Northeast can expect questions about flu vaccine efficacy. Talking points may emphasize that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting sick with the flu, reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization, and reduces children’s risk of developing life-threatening influenza. The CDC recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for everyone six months and older.