Are you getting your flu shot?

October is just around the corner, and with that comes the time to get your flu vaccination. For many small children, elderly and the chronically ill adults, this vaccination has the potential to save lives.

If you’re one of those anti-vaxxers, vaccines are not dangerous. Please stop killing people worldwide because you refuse to vaccinate your children, who when infected spread the disease to children, adults and elderly who are too fragile to receive the vaccinations and rely on people like yourselves to provide herd immunity. Remember that many of the diseases that we vaccinate against are preventable but extremely deadly if caught. Which, thanks to the anti-vax movement, has been occurring more and more frequently. There are plenty of parents who suffered (near) tragic losses of their children, who regret having been thoughtless of the fates of others, who witnessed the horrible effects of the diseases they dismissed as harmless or non-existent, who have come to realize how privileged we are to not have suffered the horrible lasting impact of these preventable diseases.

I’m sorry for that rant there, but as a member of one of the fragile risk groups, the anti-vax movement irks me like no tomorrow. I have an auto-immune condition, one that leaves my system fragile. I’ve spent the last 3 weeks feeling horrible because I caught a simple cold, one that won’t go away. My heating unit doesn’t function and so my apartment is left cold. If it doesn’t get fixed soon, I will be at an even greater risk of damaging infections when the temperature drops further. If I get the flu, the symptoms may kill me without the vaccination. My body can’t fight properly on its own. A simple cold is already taking 3 weeks to combat; what do you think happens when I get the flu, a much more severe and threatening virus that used to kill millions of people in epidemics only a few centuries ago?

“But the flu shot can still give you the flu!”

No it can’t. The flu shot makes my body fight disabled/dead viruses that can’t cause me any harm, but that still trigger the immune response. It’s this response that gives the potential for small side-effects like headaches, soreness and mild fevers. These side-effects won’t kill you, they will remain mild, and they will ensure your immune system remembers the strains that you were injected with.

“I still got sick after I got my flu shot.”

Yep, that’s possible. Nobody says the vaccine is 100% effective, and here’s why that is.

  1. Scientists predict the most likely strains of the influenza virus to take hold in all parts of the world. This is not an exact science, but they get pretty damn close to perfection. Sometimes it just so happens that one of the strains that spread through a continent was not in the vaccine. It’s possible to get sick from this strain, with all the dire consequences that follow. However, just because one of the three strains is useless, doesn’t mean the others are. You are still armed against 2 of the 3 strains rampaging through your country, meaning your risk of dying from complications is still far more narrow than if you were to not get the shot.
  2. You can still get the live virus in your body from another person. You can still get sick. The idea behind the vaccine is to reduce the response time of your body’s immune system. It takes the body a few weeks to isolate, recognize and eradicate a virus from your body, which is presented with all these nifty symptoms that make us suffer so in this time. By being immunized, your body had the chance to go through this process before with a harmless version of the virus, meaning it almost instantly recognizes the live virus and can fight it off before it has the chance to do real damage. You can still show symptoms, but they will be short lived and far less brutal than if you’d never been vaccinated.
  3. You may have gotten the live virus in your system shortly before receiving the flu shot. While the influenza virus has a much shorter incubation period than the common cold, it still has one. You may just have gotten unlucky. It has nothing to do with the flu shot.

“Vaccinations have harmful toxins in them!”

Just because the ingredients are big, scary words doesn’t mean they’re dangerous. Not in those minuscule amounts. If you live in a big city, walking around for an hour means you inhale many more toxins than there are in vaccines, in much larger quantities. The mercury in vaccines is nothing compared to the mercury in your sushi or fried fish. I could go on, but I think I made my point.

In short, it’s up to everyone to decide what to do with their own bodies and their children’s. But if you refuse to vaccinate, I still have every right to tell you you’re being a fucking selfish idiot putting the lives of other people at risk, and I still have every right to tell you I think you should get over your hippie self and be more responsible.

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