Some of my friends decided not to get a flu shot this year. Are their reasons any good?
As a pediatrician, my passion is to protect children’s health. One of the very best ways I accomplish this is by administering the flu vaccine. Unfortunately, many people decide against receiving an annual flu shot.
Here are a few common reasons patients have told me they decide not to get a flu shot:
“The flu shot causes the flu.”
The Influenza vaccine does not, in fact, cause Influenza. It can certainly cause side effects that mimic flu symptoms such as fevers and muscle aches. These side effects are common in other vaccines, too. However, these symptoms tend to be mild and are shorter-lasting than true disease. They also do not lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or brain infections like the real disease of Influenza can.
“I never received a flu vaccine and have never had the flu. Why should I get one now?”
Influenza is a very contagious disease that we are all at risk for catching every year even if we have never caught the flu in the past. If we can protect our bodies against dangers in a safe way, we should do it. Even if you have never been in a serious car accident, wouldn’t you still wear a seat belt?
“The flu vaccine does not always work and you can still catch the flu.”
No vaccine or medication is perfect. However, deciding not to receive the flu vaccine gives you no protection at all. Also, most patients who receive the flu vaccine and have the misfortune of still catching the flu tend to have a milder course of the disease compared to unvaccinated patients.
I encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you have about the flu vaccine. Give it a shot!
(pictured above) Danielle M. Clancy MD, FAAP, Advanced Pediatric Associates checks the ear of her patient.
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