My flu shot soapbox

Please allow me to pull up my soap box…

It is time for what is becoming my annual flu shot rant (see here and here for previous).

I got my flu shot this week.

Unless you are allergic to it or have another medical indication to not get it, you should too.

I mean, we are all running around terrified of Ebola and really, afraid of getting sick in general.  But, most of us are too chicken (or cocky or ill informed or paranoid) to get a simple measure that prevents a common and potentially deadly illness.  It is simple, it does not make you sick and the risks are really low (you can actually get some similar complications at random or from a bout of the flu).

Just to point out some facts… You can get the flu shot if you are pregnant.  This came up at work the other day.  It is not contraindicated.  It is advised (I know, there is limited data on fetal risk because the population data does not suggest an issue, but if there was a giant issue, they wouldn’t be doling it out to pregnant women… That is bad PR and asking for a lawsuit).  You can also get the flu shot while on most cancer treatments if you time it based on the advice of your doctor (ao came up at work)ls.  It is free in a bunch of workplaces and also if you have a chronic condition that puts you at risk if you were to get the flu.

Last year, I had, at one point, 3 people in ICU on ventilators (aka life support) with the flu.  The FLU.  And they were all in their 40s-60s.  Not old people.  Not necessarily people who were sickly before.  Crappy luck.  Bad strains.  None of them had received flu shots.  They all survived.  Not everyone is that lucky…  I also had a patient I cared for on an oncology related service die from complications related to the flu during their cancer treatment.

I have watched people die or nearly die from the flu.  I don’t want to watch more.

I know the vaccine isn’t perfect. Sure, there are years where they miss the mark in picking the viruses, but they still do confer some immunity and other years they are spot on.  I know people don’t trust doctors because apparently we have been brain washed.  And there is limited research on each specific year’s vaccine (because they are basically similar with different strains).   But, I like to hedge my bets.  It is simple, quick, easy and has more evidence behind it than most of the stuff seen on talk shows.

Don’t kill my patients.  Don’t kill my family.  Get the shot, it is extremely unlikely to make things worse and it probably will make things better.

Rant over.  I’ll step down again for now.


12 thoughts on “My flu shot soapbox

  1. Get your flu shots. Herd immunity is what it takes to work and that requires by-in from all. And as someone who delayed in getting their flu shot one year, let me tell you that influenza is not pretty. It took 6 months for me to recover from the last one.

    Protect yourselves and others. It is that simple and hey, it is free for everyone high risk. Bonus! And if you are good, you get lollipops! Even doctors like lollipops. 👍

  2. Well, I TRIED to get my flu shot at my doctor’s office on Tuesday. They were out of the vaccine but said they MIGHT have some in next week. Apparently, they have had a hard time getting it and it is already in short supply? And it’s just October? I was told I could go to another facility to get it. My mother-in-law went to her pharmacy that same afternoon and they were also out? I don’t understand the shortage????? But I’ll keep trying!!!

      • I ended up getting my flu shot two days ago at Walgreens. I was telling the pharmacist who gave me the shot that my doctor’s office reported that they are having a hard time getting the vaccine. He said that is because the pharmacies buy it in such big bulk that it makes it harder for the doctors to get it. (Something about that just seemed messed up to me). He said that this particular Walgreens last year gave 1,000 flu shots and this year had only given 500 but it was still pretty early. SO they give A LOT of flu vaccinations. He said he knows doctors aren’t too happy about not being able to get it but he guessed most didn’t buy in large bulk like the pharmacies do.

  3. You know what, there’s really no better example of how ludicrous we are as a species. We’re all terrified of ebola and everything else, but there are parents who won’t vaccinate their kids, and people who won’t get the flu shot. Silly.

    • Good point. It really does seem silly. But, I guess the not vaccinating comes down to fear of other things. Just things that to us seem less risky than the diseases we are trying to prevent themselves.

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