Fact Check


No, the CDC did not issue a warning advising folks to avoid this year's flu shot.

Published Oct. 19, 2015


[green-label]FACT CHECK:[/green-label] Has the CDC issued a warning to all Americans urging them not to get the flu shot this year?

[green-label]Claim:[/green-label] The CDC issued a warning to all Americans urging them not to get the flu shot this year.


[green-label]Example:[/green-label] [green-small][Collected via Facebook and Twitter, October 2015][/green-small]

haha! We talk about the CDC admitting the flu shot doesn't work & the side effects in this free documentary that i'm in with Dr. Mercola, Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez & another 100+ docs and experts. starts free RIGHT NOW 9pm EST Tuesday the 13th!!

[green-label]Origins:[/green-label] On 16 October 2015, an unreliable but popular alternative health web site published an article titled "CDC Issued A Warning—Don’t Have a Flu Shot This Year," which maintained:

The flu vaccine can be deadly. CDC issued this warning —This year the flu vaccine won’t work. This admission followed a much stronger warning out of Italy following a full investigation when more than a dozen people died 48 hours after receiving the the flu vaccine.

Thousands of users shared the article in just a few days, presumably based entirely on the click-baiting headline. It wasn't until readers worked through to the second page of the post that they saw the blog on which it was hosted had noted that the rumor was neither new nor specific to 2015; it was simply a variation on an earlier claim falsely stating the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had "apologized" for an ineffective flu shot the previous year:

This was published 10 months ago. Do you think that the flu vaccine is safer now?

It's possible that the original rumor (claiming the CDC apologized for an ineffective flu shot) was revived following a 14 October 2015 Facebook post published by a separate, unreliable alternative health site. However, had the CDC issued any alerts, warnings, guidelines, or other information, they would likely appear on the agency's official flu shot Twitter stream (@CDCFlu). That account advised Twitter users to get a flu vaccine annually, never said this year's vaccines were ineffective, and never recommended avoiding it:


[green-label]Last updated:[/green-label] 19 October 2015

[green-label]Originally published:[/green-label] 19 October 2015

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.