My Lack of Flu Shot Will Probably Not Kill Your Baby or Grandma

Maybe we should give more careful thought about getting a flu shot than lemmings give about cliff diving

I’m so very tired of hearing that if I don’t get a flu shot I’m going to kill babies and old people. Think I’m exaggerating? Think again. According to Lindy West over at Jezebel: “Immunocompromised people, baby people, and elderly people are massively vulnerable…and do you know where people get the deadly flu? From you.” She goes on to let us know that, in her estimation “It's your [she means me and you] responsibility as a productive, self-aware citizen to nip that shit in the bud [she means by getting a flu shot].”

And here I thought it was my responsibility as a productive, self-aware citizen to evaluate medical decisions for myself and allow other people to make their own choices without the use of guilt, shaming or cajoling. She even gets sciencey: “But is this year's flu that much worse than any other year's flu? Well, we don't exactly know yet. But I keep seeing these links that are like ‘Hey, want to look at a color-coded map of how bad the flu epidemic is right now?’ and I'm like, ‘Hell yes I do -- come at me, charts and graphs!’ But then they're all totally boring because theentire map is just all one color. The color of GO-GET-A-FLU-SHOT.”

I hate to be particular -- actually I don’t -- but the entire map is not just one color. I happen to live in one of the states where the flu is not widespread but if I don’t get my flu shot, apparently someone’s sweet grandma in Poughkeepsie is gonna die!

Or, maybe she won’t die. There are definitely populations who are more vulnerable to complications and even death from the flu. For that reason the flu shot is recommended for those populations. So they don’t get the flu from those of us who are not more vulnerable and choose not to get a vaccination because we think that we would do well to drink a big steaming mug of suck it up and build some antibodies. Not to mention that the flu shot is not tolerated well by everyone. Me, for example. I haven’t had the flu in over 10 years but the two years that I did get the flu shot, I got immediately and seriously ill. Not. Awesome.

While we ponder that, how about some actual science? Like a study conducted by the University Of Minnesota that found that elderly and the children do not benefit nearly as much as is suggested from these vaccines. Or how about the fact that side effects of the shots have caused them to be banned in countries including Austria, Germany, Spain, and France. Or the belief that places like Walgreens will poke you in the arm not for the sake of keeping you well but for a profit.

 

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