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Immunization or Avoidance

Flu shot, influenza vaccination, Lately, no matter which direction I turn, I’ve been increasingly inundated with stories warning of the dangers, de-bunked myths, or people otherwise singing the praises of getting a flu shot. To be honest, I haven’t lined up to get a flu shot for nearly two decades, and even then my mom had to do some pretty serious bribing just to get me into the doctor’s office.  My reasoning for not getting being immunized against influenza has varied due to a youthful sense of indestructibility, fear of the side effects, general apathy, and a lot of confusion regarding the pros and cons of the vaccination.  For the longest time, I didn’t get immunized because I didn’t get the flu.  That all changed a few years back when I was lucky enough to win a front row seat to enjoy a bout of swine flu, however even those horrible few days weren’t enough to convince me to seek out the annual vaccine.

With cold and flu season nearly upon us, and with 10 to 20 percent of the Canadian population likely to contract influenza, this week’s poll asks:

Do you plan on getting the flu shot this year?

  • No. (50%, 46 Votes)
  • Yes. (46%, 42 Votes)
  • Not sure. (4%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 92

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This year, experts content that there is a tremendous bonus to getting the flu shot.  Specifically, studies suggest that those with a history of heart disease could reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke by more than half by getting vaccinated. Such benefits are great for those who are elderly, and otherwise more vulnerable to getting seriously ill, but I don’t fall into either category.  While I side with the experts in the sense that I believe that my grandmother should be immunized, until there’s such a thing as a universal vaccine, I won’t be getting a preventative shot in the arm.  Instead, I will rely upon excessively washing my hands, stocking up on chicken noodle soup, and liberally taking sick days to avoid contaminating everyone in my office.

What’s your strategy for staving off influenza?  What’s your opinion on getting yourself, as well as young and old family members vaccinated?

Thanks to Indiana Public Media for the photo associated with this week’s poll.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

4 thoughts on “Immunization or Avoidance

  • November 11, 2013 at 9:46 pm
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    I really wish everyone would get the flu shot. It's not just yourself that you're protecting, it's the more vulnerable members of the population, such as the elderly and the young. ie. if you don't get the flu, you won't give it to them! So I think many people who don't get the flu shot are being selfish. Okay, let's see if this sparks some discussion. Don't get me started on the vaccination issue– I am really, really annoyed with parents who don't immunize their kids, and jeopardize the rest of us.

    • November 12, 2013 at 9:12 am
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      I have to disagree with the herd immunization argument. Personally, I think it attempts to pressure people into getting a flu shot, however it's widely recognized that the shot is not safe/appropriate for everyone. Those who are at risk can get the shot, but don't pressure me to do the same. If immunization offered some sort of long term coverage, maybe I could get on board with getting a shot. Since it doesn't, I can't convince myself it's a good idea to line up year after year. Rather than focusing so much effort on prevention, perhaps society needs to change our mindset with respect to treatment and containment. If you get a cold or the flu, do everyone a favor and stay home. I think that would be just as effective for protecting those at risk.

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