Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To Flu Shot or Not to Flu Shot

There are certain topics that are triggers for people. Topics that, once raised, cause a person to immediately respond with a lot of emotion, sometimes anger and often a sense of self-righteousness.

Religion can do that to some people.

So can politics.

Mac versus PC.

Heck, even gas stoves versus electric can get some people fired up.

The topic that I have found to be one of the most volatile these days is...the flu shot.

(insert angry psycho music here)

Seriously folks. You have two options. You can get the flu shot. Or you can chose not to get the flu shot.

Neither choice is going to send you to hell or send others there. Neither choice is likely to harm the environment. Neither choice makes you a better person.

Yes, both choices have a slight chance of killing you. You can opt to have the shot and have a crazy allergic reaction to it and die right there in the waiting room. Odds are pretty good that you won't but there is always a chance.

You can also opt to not have the shot, get the flu and be one of the 8,000 people (in Canada anyway) who die every year from the flu.

Chances are though that, shot or no shot, you will survive the winter.

People have their own reasons for getting it or for not getting it. Many of them are based on fact. Many of them are based on superstition and misunderstanding.

  • No, you can't get the flu from having the flu shot (the virus is dead).
  • Yes, you can get the flu minutes, hours or days after having the shot (which probably just means you were already infected but not showing symptoms yet - it doesn't mean that you were accidentally injected with a live virus by an incompetent nurse). 
  • Yes, you can get the flu weeks or months having the flu shot (there are many different strains of flu out there - they don't vaccinate us against all of them).
Everyone needs to make their own choice. 

Whatever that choice is, please RELAX when you hear mention of annual flu shots. Don't get your knickers in a knot if a schedule of flu shot clinics is posted at work and you don't want to get a shot. And don't get all high and mighty if you choose to get the shot and other people don't. 

Let's all just try to get along shall we? 

That being said, in the interest of full disclosure, I choose to get the shot every year and am one of the first in line. I have type 1 diabetes. That puts me immediately in the high risk category and, when there are flu shot shortages, I still get to go to the front of the line. I take that pretty seriously. 

I also really really don't like getting sick. It feels yucky and it wreaks havoc on my blood sugars and my body. So, if I can have a vaccine that may help prevent me from catching the flu this season - sign me up. 

I promise though, that if you choose not to head to your nearest pharmacy, doctor or flu shot clinic, I will not judge, I will not preach and I will not get my knickers in a knot. Kindly please do the same for me. 


  1. Amen sistah! I find that people take it so far out of line. Especially when I say nay to the flu shot. Had it once but never again. I get flack from some folks who think that just because I have the betes that I have to get the flu shot. No thanks. My body, my choice.
    panty twisters can take a hike! :P

  2. Heather B in VancouverOctober 31, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    I, too, have had one every year since diagnosis (ie. 25 extra jabs in the arm). I still came down with Sydney A (1999? 2000?), which turned into pneumonia and landed me in hospital, but, on the whole, I've remained flu- and even kinda cold-free. But then I read all the stuff about the flu shot contributing to Alzheimer's and God knows what else, and I wonder: is this just Internet-alternative-med crap, or is this something to worry about? I'm profoundly undecided this year!

  3. I get a vaccine every year, but I respect people's choices not to get one. If they get sick, *they* get sick; it's not like we're building some kind of herd immunity for an otherwise rare disease (like measles or whooping cough) by getting flu shots. (But seriously, parents, vaccinate your children against polio, MMR, pertusis, etc.)

    My endo suggested the last time I saw her that I get a pneumonia vaccine.... Just in case you want an extra jab.

  4. “I choose to get the shot every year and am one of the first in line.” - That's great to hear! Just like you, I'm in the front line each time there's a flu shot day at work. It's not just about the concern of your own health but the public too. Flu viruses are pandemic, and you are risking the health of others around you once you caught it. So, for others who don't take the flu shot for a reason, I hope they're being considerate with others by responsibly wearing mask and following the proper hygiene.

  5. Your knickers should be fine. While there are people who still believe in those superstitions you’ve mentioned, most people would still rather have the shot more often than not. I mean, for something you can have in less than an hour and give you protection from at least dozens of the known strains of influenza, I think it’s still a pretty sweet deal.