Trust Index: The flu shot does not increase your risk of getting COVID-19

Local doctors say the myth is false, say it’s more important than ever to get flu shot

Local doctors say the myth is false and stress that it’s more important than ever to get flu shot

SAN ANTONIO – It’s a claim that’s been circulating for weeks: getting the flu shot will increase your risk of getting COVID-19.

Even though experts worldwide have debunked the myth, KSAT ran it through the Trust Index.

Two renowned local doctors gave the same definitive answer and then explained why it's never been more important to get the flu shot.

Within a second of asking the question, both doctors gave the same answer:

“The flu shot does not increase your risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Dr. Jason Bowling, a University Health System hospital epidemiologist.

"No. The flu shot will help prevent you from getting the flu," said Dr. Ruth Berggren with UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine.

They said the only connection between the flu and COVID-19 is the fact that many of the symptoms are the same.

“With the exception of a runny nose,” Berggren said. “COVID-19 doesn’t cause a runny nose, the flu usually does.”

That’s why both doctors have been emphatic that getting the flu shot this year is crucial to save you confusion, save you a trip to the doctor during the pandemic, and possibly save your life.

“It’s extremely important that people get the flu shot because it is possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which will really increase your risk of having worse outcome: being in a hospital, having respiratory failure and even death,” Dr. Bowling said.

That message comes alongside an important reminder: the flu shot does not give you the flu. That's another debunked myth.

As for the KSAT Trust Index, the claim that the flu shot could put you at risk for COVID-19 is definitely “not true.”

If you have a claim, video or picture you’d like KSAT to verify, submit it to the KSAT Trust Index website.

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KSAT Trust Index: Do San Antonio hospitals have enough personal protective equipment?

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.