Friday, October 2, 2009

What do you think of the flu vaccine?

This is actually the question I posed to two of my dearest friends the other night over dinner. After all the hype over the swine flu and the vaccine development in China, I wanted to get others’ opinions. My overall reaction to the flu vaccine has always been the opinion that it is a scam by the pharmaceutical industry to make more money off of people’s fears. Viruses mutate a lot. The idea that a vaccine can be developed and ready by October and have the right strain to fight off a virus that will hit its peak in February befuddles me. I just don’t see how it is possible. Plus we can’t trust China to make safe children’s toys, but now they are the leading experts on vaccines? I find that interesting.

The question of vaccines has become very controversial in recent years. To me, the question boils down to personal risk versus social responsibility. Yes, we each take a personal risk every time we get vaccinated. That risk is somewhat ameliorated by the personal benefit of protection from that disease, but all vaccines have side effects. I can’t imagine living in a country where the mumps, small pox, and polio still ravaged cities and villages so I am more than willing to roll up my sleeve and take the shot. I think vaccinations should be required for attendance in public schools. I think that is a good use of government regulation for overall public health.

But the flu just doesn’t seem that serious to me. I have a healthy immune system, good insurance and sick time at work. I can afford to be sick and allow my own immune system fight off the invaders. I understand others don’t. Plus, we won’t wipe out the flu if everyone gets vaccinated. The virus will still be around. However, if I interacted every day with people with depressed immune systems due age or disease, I would likely get the flu vaccine to protect them. What is a little sniffle to me is likely catastrophic for them. Did you get the flu vaccine? Why or Why not?


  1. I have never gotten a flu shot and I have been just fine. My teacher friends think I am crazy for not getting one but if it is not broke why fix it. I would be more worried about getting the flu after the shot.

  2. Great post! I will be getting the flu vaccine for the 1st time in my life (and hopefully the last)...but only because of my kids, not for myself! Being pregnant, my dr really recommends it because while the flu is minimal to a healthy adult, it can be deadly to a newborn baby or a fetus. While I am really against vaccines unless neccesary (my preemie daughter is on an "alternative" vaccine schedule with only the most important ones given before the age of 3), I can't imagine the guilt if I get the flu, pass it on to my child (or go into labor because of the flu/dehydration), and it leads my newborn or preemie daughter to be hospitalized. So even though I am against it, I'm going to do it this year for them! I should add I was a teacher for 8 years, most years spent in kindergarten, and survived every flu season without a flu shot...but I guess it's something I am going to do this year for my kids! I guess in May I'll know if it was a good choice or not! :) Can't wait to read other's responses! Great post, Angie!

  3. I am a mom of two small kids and I receive a flu shot every year (as do my kids). I get a flu shot to protect my kids and others I come into contact with through playdates, friends, work, travel, etc. I also get a flu shot because ten years ago (before I started getting annual vaccines) and I got the flu. I missed an entire week of law school and it took me months to catch up. It was horrible and I would not wish it upon my dearest enemies. If you are not sure if you have had the flu then you have not had it. I feel that getting an annual flu shot is doing my part of the bigger picture to keep ourselves and our kids healthy and productive. My doctor and my kids' doctor also recommend getting one every year. While I don't assume all things doctors say is "gold and true" I do know they are smarter than me in the medical area. I am an "odds" person and I believe the rewards outweigh the risks. Thanks, Angie!