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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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January 10th, 2014
06:59 PM ET

Doctor: You can't get flu from the flu vaccine

(CNN) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half the country now reports widespread flu activity. While that's fairly normal for this time of year in certain parts of Texas and in the Bay area, overflow tents are being set up to deal with the growing number of flu patients.

The flu is also more likely to affect young, healthy adults this time around because the most common strain being spread is H1N1, also known as the "swine flu."

"It's a big H1N1 year," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

"(H1N1) affects people under 65, more than the elderly," said Schuchat.

Younger people are more susceptible to the strain for two reasons.

"One is that the elderly probably were exposed to an H1N1-like strain when they were young so they have a natural immunity that has persisted," said Schuchat. "The other reason is that non-elderly people are not just as likely to get vaccinated."

Even with all the warnings to get a flu vaccine, many remain reluctant to get one. Schuchat says there are a lot of misconceptions about the flu vaccine, and debunked a few of them for CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"You can't get flu from the flu vaccine," said the doctor.

"Flu vaccine won't protect you from everything. Some people think that the stomach bug is the flu. Influenza is different, it causes fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headache - but not everything that causes a cough or sore throat is influenza," said Schuchat.

"It's important to know that the flu vaccine is safe. It's not perfect in terms of its effectiveness, but it's the best thing that you can do to protect yourself from the flu and to protect yourself from spreading flu to the people that you love," said Schuchat.

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