10 Reasons People Don’t Get The Flu Vaccine

(And the fallacies behind those reasons)

  • I never get the flu, so I won’t get the vaccine.  Right.  I’ve never been in a head on car collision, so I won’t wear my seat belt
  • The vaccine can give me the flu.  This is biologically impossible.  The injectable vaccine is killed/dead, and the nasal, although alive, cannot replicate in the temperature of the nose, and therefore can’t cause disease.
  • The vaccine is worse than the disease.  Nope, not even close.  Influenza, the virus, causes absolute misery with fever, muscle aches and cough that can last 7-10 days.  And that is better than a spray in your nose or a sore arm for a day?
  • I don’t believe in the flu vaccine.  Belief such as this is what you do when you don’t have good data or accept proven facts.  If you are inclined to think in this way, I can’t help you.
  • The flu vaccine is not safe and has not been properly evaluated for safety.  Wrong.  There are over  1,342 references to the safety of the flu vaccine (as accessed on PubMed).  Just look them up.
  • Only old people get the flu.  I invite all of you to visit my office during the flu season and listen to the coughing and aching children who have fever.  On second thought, that’s not a very good idea.
  • I can treat the flu with over the counter meds, or echinacea, or vitamin C, or…..  Wrong again. There is no data or study to show that any product is effective in treating or preventing the flu except for Tamiflu and Relenza, both prescription drugs.  If you have data that shows I am wrong, please show me.
  • Flu isn’t all that bad a disease.  For most people, its high fever, aching, cough, sore throat, missed school/work, etc.  Sounds pretty yucky to me.  One of the problems is that the term “flu” is used to describe almost any viral infection.  The real flu is absolute misery.  And it kills about 20,000 people a year and hospitalizes about 200,000. It’s bad!
  • I am not at risk for the flu.  If you are alive and breathing, you are at risk.  And if you get it, you put others around you at risk, including the very young, who can’t be immunized, and the very old, who have multiple medical problems and are at high risk of complications and death.
  • I received the flu vaccine last year and still got the flu. Unfortunately, this is possible. The vaccine is not 100% perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got.  So hedge your bets, and get the vaccine!!!

Copyright 2012, Albert G. Karam