DURHAM, NC (WTVD) -- The 2016 flu season is underway and the CDC is doubling down on its message urging Americans to get their vaccines as soon as they can.
ABC11 spoke with Duke Health's Philip Heine, the Director of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, to debunk misconceptions about the flu.
More than anything Dr. Heine said he wants people to know "that the flu vaccine does not cause the flu."
He said he believes it's safe for everyone but he's especially urging expecting mothers to get vaccinated.
"Pregnant women are at risk for flu-related complications, actually more at risk than the general population," Heine said.
According to the doctor, the shot is safe for both the mother and child at any point during the pregnancy, and it is beneficial to the child as well as the mother.
"Her newborn baby has a decreased risk of developing the flu for the first six months of life," Heine said of pregnant women who choose to be vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated sooner, instead of waiting until peak season hits in December through February, may also be more beneficial to anyone who decides to get the shot, according to Heine.
"It takes two to four weeks for the vaccination to, for you to build up enough antibodies to be protected," he said.
The doctor said strains for the vaccine are adjusted from season to season not month to month, so the strains of the flu shot you got today are going to be the same sort of strains in the flu shot you could get weeks or even months down the line.
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