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Your Take: Do You Get a Flu Shots?

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Influenza VaccineI get a flu shot every year. I visit my doctor, pay my $10-15 or whatever it is, and get my shot in the arm. In some years, out of convenience, I get it at Costco or some other place, but generally it’s with my regular doctor and it’s not really a big deal. A few days of soreness in the arm and I’m on my way.

You’ve probably read all the news that this year’s flu season is going to be a particularly nasty one. I have a few friends who have already come down with it and having gotten the flu in the past, I know it sucks. You feel heavy, everything hurts, and you sleep all day but never feel rested. I get a shot because I figure it’s ten bucks to have a pretty good chance of avoiding it.

I also know people who never get the flu shot, in part because they say they never get the flu. That strikes me as a pretty bad reason but I’m not in the business of trying to convince people to get flu shots so I usually just let it go. In all the times I’ve driven, I’ve only ever once gotten into an accident (someone ran a red light) but I wear a seat belt each time. But it’s all a matter of personal choice and I don’t judge, I am, however, curious why some people get a shot and others don’t.

I get it because I would rather pay $10 for a 50% chance at avoiding a flu that knocks me out for 4-5 days. That’s my logic and I know that the flu shot isn’t 100% protection, so I peg it at 50%. It’s probably higher but at 50% it’s still worth it to me. Heck, I’d pay $100 for a 50% chance to avoid 4-5 days of suck.

Do you get flu shots? Why or why not?

(photo: scelera)

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53 Responses to “Your Take: Do You Get a Flu Shots?”

  1. Richard says:

    My insurance covers the flu shot 100%, so I don’t have to pay for it.

    With that said, I don’t get the flu shot for health reasons.

    1. The strains the flu shot protects against are chosen months in advance of the flu season. Some years they might guess right, some years they’re dead wrong. I’m not going to trust the best guess for something as unpredictable as the wild flu.

    2. I have known many people to suffer for a more mild case of the flu after having received the flu shot.

    3. The odds of getting the flu are pretty low. Generally it’s about 2%. The flu shot taking those odds down to 1% aren’t really worth it for me.

    4. This is probably the biggest reason, the flu shot is mildly toxic. First you’re having foreign DNA (what the grow the flu on) as well as the flu virus injected in your body past your normal immune system (which starts with the skin and mucus). In addition to that you’re having preservatives, like the sometimes mercury based thiomerosol, and immune adjuvents, like aluminum injected into your body. This cause your body to have a stronger immune reaction to the viruses that are injected into you, the side effects are potentially causing severe auto immune disorders like guillain barre syndrome. Also both mercury and aluminum have cumulative nuerotoxic effects which can cause early signs of Alzheimers. The flu is not a debilitating chronic illness, but both of those are.

    All told taking my odds of getting the flu from 2% to 1%, are not worth the also low likelihood, but much worse, side effects of the shot.

    • Richard says:

      Here are some cost effective ways to reduce your chance of getting the flu that won’t harm your health.

      1. Wash your hands often.

      2. Increase your intake of vitamin C, this can be done though supplements, or through fruits and vegetables, like citrus, tomatoes, bell peppers etc. Vitamin C is overall beneficial to your immune system, while also being an anti-oxidant which promotes overall health.

      3. Increase your intake of vitamin D, this can also be done through supplements, or naturally by being in the sun more. This has the side effect of also improving your overall immune system, as well as stronger bones, lower risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and maybe you can get some exercise when you’re out in the sun.

      None of these three things have harmful side effects, all of them will improve your general health, and all of them are also inexpensive.

    • Jeff B. says:

      @Richard. You are doing a disservice to society by shilling fake statistics to support your fear of vaccines.

      1. Yes the nature of vaccine production means they have to produce ahead of flu season and make an educated guess on the anticipated strains. While some years, they miss the mark, this year’s vaccine is estimated to be 62% effective in preventing flu by the CDC. That is considered pretty moderate protection vs. nothing.
      2. The idea that people get the flu after receiving a vaccine is a complete myth, farce. Total bunk.
      3. Your stat on the odds of getting the flu is also made up out of thin air. Between 5-20% of the population gets it EVERY YEAR. Your estimate was off by up to 1000%. How is that for a statistic?
      4. People get blood transfusions with “foreign DNA” daily within a hospital setting. People are not dropping like flies or developing side illnesses. This is a controlled, well researched vaccine.
      5. Yes we can all wash our hands and even stay at home isolated from society and reduce our liklihood from getting the flu, but not all of us have that luxury or is it realistic. We actually help reduce the chance for others to catch the flu by eliminating yourself as a source of it.

      I also like to use actual sources when citing figures, so here is one:
      http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-statistics

      Finally, I like the cost perspective on promoting the vaccine. At $10 (or free at clinic) vaccine can help prevent an hourly worker from missing out on a weeks of upaid work leave due to flu illness, that seems like it would be well worth the investment and risk of potential loss of salary (several hundred dollars for the week typically). Also, 30-50k people die from the flu each year, so there’s that benefit of the vaccine reducing that risk:)

      • Ben says:

        I never get vaccinations and neither does anyone in my family. We never get the flu and are 10 times as healthy as friends and colleagues who like lemmings blindly accept big pharma’s propaganda. Although Big Pharma has extemely zealous disciples who attack and villify anyone who disagrees with them I am not intimidated by them. They are the ones with as much or more pseudo-science as anyone they accuse. Through holistic wellness and homeopathy we avoid 90% of the sicknesses that repeatedly plague the community around us.

      • Ben says:

        WebMD is a front for BigPharma.
        It’s not only a waste of time, but it’s also a disorder in and of itself — one that preys on the fear and vulnerability of its users to sell them half-truths and, eventually, pills.

        But if careering around the Web doing symptom searches is your bag (and, come on, we’ve all been there), there’s still MayoClinic.com…

        If you’re looking for the name of a new pill to “ask your doctor about,” as the ads say, the Mayo Clinic Health Information site is not the place for you. If you’re shopping for a newly branded disorder that might account for your general feeling of unease, Mayo is not for you either. But if you want workaday, can-do health information in a nonprofit environment, plug your symptoms into Mayo’s Symptom Checker. What you’ll get is: No hysteria. No drug peddling. Good medicine. Good ideas. http://healthblog.ncpa.org/is-webmd-a-front-for-big-pharma/

    • Alan says:

      Your reasoning is not entirely correct. The form of mercury that is used as a preservative in the vaccine does not accumulate in the body. Studies have shown that any organic mercury from the vaccine is completely excreted from the body within a few days. You run a greater risk of accumulating (inorganic) mercury eating a tuna sandwich.

    • Ron C says:

      It is impossible to get the flu from a flu shot. There is no active virus in the shot. It is a myth and you know it.

  2. Glenn Lasher says:

    Yes. It is my opinion that those who can afford it and don’t get it are fools.

    I am not interested in any fringe-science explanations or conspiracy theories as excuses not to get it, because they fail the slightest scientific inquiry.

    Man up and take your medicine!

  3. NateUVM says:

    A large part of the reason I get my flu shot every year has little to do with the odds of it protecting me, or the odds of getting the flu otherwise… It has to do with protecting those around me, specifically those that might have compromised/challenged imune systems (e.g. infants, elderly, etc…).

    If I can somehow increase the chance that I don’t get the flu, than I can increase the chance that they don’t get it (by my transmitting it), either. If everyone did the same thing, than these vulnerable populations would be all the more protected.

    I know that the flu shot is widely recommended, in particular (so maybe the flu shot is bad example of my philosophy), but this is my stance on vaccinations, in general. I see it as part of my civic duty and as part of my small contribution to Public Health.

  4. Jim says:

    That’s a great way to think about it Nate.

  5. Jamie says:

    I have a chronically ill (heart issues) child who is at risk of death should he contract an upper respitory illness, such as the flu. He’s not alone. Even healthy young children and relatively healthy elderly people are at the same type of risk. I, like Nate, get the immunization to help protect these at-risk individuals. And I appreciate others who do the same because someone in my family directly benefits from it. They guess at the flu strain and could be wrong? You are still more protected getting the shot than not. It’s toxic? If you’re healthy, it’s less risk to you than the flu is to my son. You get the flu from the immunization? Uh, no you don’t. It’s a dead virus. Get the facts from credible sources, then make a decision.

  6. TOGwDog says:

    I don’t get a flu shot because:

    1) It’s a government-supported money-making racket and I refuse to participate.

    2) The vaccine contains mercury and other toxins that I don’t want to purposely inject into my body.

    3) It doesn’t work.

    4) People who get vaccines are less healthy than those who don’t.

    • Atchoo says:

      I find it absurd when people say things like this, yet don’t cite their sources. If you’re going to make bullshit claims, you should at least try to back them up.

  7. daenyll says:

    any time someone in my family has gotten the flu shot they end up really sick with the flu, as opposed to minor illness if they do get sick when not having had the shot. I don’t get the shot, preferring other preventative measures. You have to remember that the shot only covers a few strains that are estimated to be most likely months before flu season even starts, that doesn’t mean that the vaccine makers are right or that no new strain might pop up. Basic prevention does more to protect you from all possibilities.

  8. thunderthighs says:

    Yes, and CVS was giving out 20% off coupons with flu shots, too!

  9. Texas Wahoo says:

    My parents never got the flu shot, so neither did I and I have largely been successful not getting the flu so far in my life. In addition, my wife got the flu shot once in college and it made her so sick that she ended up missing about a month of school and was on bed rest.

    Thus, I decided to go without the shot again this year, even though my office offers it for free every year.

  10. NateUVM says:

    MYTH – The flu shot can give you the flu.

    FACT(s) – The flu shot cannot give you the flu because the virus contained within is innactive.

    For those that claim that they got sick from the flu shot, realize that your body takes 2-3 weeks to build up enough antibodies from the vaccine to be able to fight off a targeted infection.

    Also, consider that the flu shot only provides protection against what have been typically deemed the 3 most likely strains of infection for that season, with varying degrees of efficacy (the current shot, I saw somewhere, provided something like good-to-excellent efficacy for 2 of the strains, with about 50% efficacy for the third strain).

    So, for those that claim that the shot gave them the flu, what’s more likely (especially considering the initial claim is impossible) is that either the person contracted the flu prior to the shot taking effect (so they should have taken it sooner), they were infected with a strain that the shot does not provide protection against, or they were part of the considerable minority that the flu shot would not work for. Take your pick.

  11. NateUVM says:

    Oh, and, for those that receive the shot and still get sick… Odds are you will get a whole lot “less sick” than if you never got the shot. So, if you do still get sick and that’s why don’t want to get it again, think of how bad it COULD have been!

  12. Marguerite says:

    I personally don’t get the flu shot. I figure I’m generally healthy and that’s what my immune system is for. I think we’ve gone a little overboard with vaccines in general and there have been way too many stories of the FDA approving a medicine that later turns out to be toxic or harmful. Funny, you don’t really hear of any that they don’t approve that later turn out to be really good for you.

    As it happens, I got the flu this year. Admittedly, I’ve fallen behind on my healthy habits and my immune system has taken the hit after having a baby last summer. She didn’t get the flu, even though my husband and I both did and were pretty sick for 5 days.

    Guess what? Still not getting the shot next year either.

    • Jeff B. says:

      @Marguerite its interesting how you presented a pretty telling anecdote in support of getting the vaccine, such as having a young toddler in the house that would be at a much higher risk pool than normal adults for flu complications, yet you fail to convince us (or yourself) why you think allowing your immune system to be the only defense against the flu despite its inability to prevent it within the past year.

      If you are standing up to something to make a statement, I’m confused what that is…

      • I think she actually explained well why she chooses not to get the shot. She prefers to work on boosting her immune system so it works in preventing the flu or if she catches it, it will not be that bad. I completely agree with that reasoning and it is what we follow at home. Generally speaking though, the flu shot debate get pretty heated very easily because usually people on both ends of the spectrum feel very strongly that they are doing the right thing. To each their own, right?

  13. ChrisCD says:

    I originally didn’t get it, but I normally do. When I heard the flu season was going to bad, my daughter and I did. We both have asthma so are more at risk when it comes to respiratory illnesses.

    My daughter had already been exposed (unbeknownst to us) and did contract the flu.

    Yes companies make $. Last time I checked, most people won’t have a job if their company doesn’t make $. So I don’t hold the need for profit against companies.

  14. freeby50 says:

    I didn’t get a flu shot. I should but its just something I never get around to and procrastinate on.

    I think fear of vaccines is very misguided and harmful. Vaccines are safe and save lives. The flu kills thousands of people each year and a simple shot can help save some of those lives.

  15. hothothhottiee says:

    no i don’t. i keep my hands clean and don’t touch anything someone else has touched such as mags. in dr. offices. i use sterial wipes on store carts going in an sterial wipes on my hand going out. haven’t had a flu shot sence 1976 it’s all percultion. havev’t had the flu either. and i wash my hands as soon as i get home. worked for me.

  16. Stephanie says:

    Overall people that don’t get the flu shot are putting others at risk unnecessarily and that’s not right. I get one every year and have for many. Originally I thought the same thing as some above in comments but as you age, as things happen in your life, your immune system can be compromised & you made need help fghting off things you never used to. It makes me mad that people won’t buck up to something that takes a few moments, I don’t even get a sore arm. My husband has MS, a weakened immune system already. He also gets the shot but I think people that won’t protect themselves are being selfish in not helping protect others. If you can’t afford it there are ways to get it but I’ll bet anything that’s not the case for those that want to take a stand that they don’t need it. 8 people have died of the flu in our state this season, Washington. They may have been able to be saved. It’s also important to get it early as you need to have it in your system before the “bad” flu season really hits. I get it as soon as it hits my doctors office, early October.

    • TOGwDog says:

      How does YOU getting the flu shot protect someone else who also got the shot? If they got the shot, then they are immune from those certain strains of flu. So what if you skip the shot and get sick? They’re immune.

      If you believe the flu shot works, then you getting a shot might protect some people who don’t get the shot, but why are they your responsibility. Let them get their own shot.

  17. Once I understood what was in vaccines I didn’t want them. So no I don’t get flu shots.

  18. admiral58 says:

    I normally get a flu shot each year.

  19. Cal says:

    I think fear of vaccines is very misguided and harmful. Vaccines are safe and save lives. The flu kills thousands of people each year and a simple shot can help save some of those lives.

    Freeby50 did you know that vaccines are the cause of the peanut allergies and to an extent Penicllin allergies in people… The oil used to help the liquid flow into your body and then to flow throughout your body was changed to peanut oil compound in the late 50′s early 60′s and that is where the allergies came from……
    So yes vaccines are safe as that goes, but not totally…. Also we are the only country that looks at vaccines and flu shots the way we do.. Other countires do not pay as much attention to them…..

  20. Steph says:

    I am not a part of, nor do I live or work with, an at risk group for the flu, so I choose not to get the shot. I wash my hands regularly, use hand sanitizer and sneeze into my elbow rather than my hands. I don’t see the point of getting a vaccine for something that won’t kill me if I contract it. However, if I have children, begin working with them or the elderly or have to take care of an elderly family member, I will gladly start getting the flu shot. Until then, soap & water are good enough as I haven’t had the flu since I was in college, which was, coincidentally, the last time I contracted the flu.

  21. BrianC says:

    I get it every year. I’m not sure how effective it is, but it’s a minor inconvenience to get it, my doctor recommends it–a no-brainer for me.

  22. cubiclegeoff says:

    I get it because I see no scientific reason not to. I got it this year because I have a newborn, and that’s not worth the risk. I try to do all of the other things, wash hands, etc, but even your best efforts won’t 100% keep you from the flu, unless you want to live in a bubble.

    However, my mother-in-law does not get one because her doctor told her she probably doesn’t need it as she never gets the flu. I think this is odd and don’t buy it, but it’s her choice.

  23. I get the shot every year around Halloween to be protected through the most likely time of infection.

    I don’t understand how intelligent people can say that it is bad to get something that helps the general population and you.

  24. javi says:

    My workplace provides flu shots for free each year & I always get one. I have seen so many of my coworkers get sick with the flu and I always am fine.


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