Why in the world would I get a flu shot?
Until a few days ago, I hadn’t. It’s a bit of an embarrassing admission for a public health professor, I must admit. But the current influenza epidemic –
along with some prompting from this week’s script editor Hillary Craddock – got me thinking: why do I find it so
easy to do nothing, when all the advice is to just go out and get a shot? It’s not as if i’m worried about the
risk of complications – this is pretty insignificant for someone like me. But like many, my default position is to
sit on my backside and do nothing until I need to. And I’m great at rationalizing this: I hate taking unfamiliar meds unless I
absolutely have to – even the occasional Advil is a tough
call! I’ve never been hit by a serious bout
of flu – why tempt fate? I don’t personally know anyone whose life has been threatened by the flu. And on top of all that, I’m told that the
current vaccine is only around 60% successful at preventing infection So why get a shot? Surely I’m okay just
doing nothing. Right? Well, maybe not. Influenza is miserable at best and life-threatening at worst. This is not
just a bad cold. And despite my fantasies, I am not
immune. What’s worse – if the flu gets me, I
become a carrier, spreading the nasty little virus around to friends and
colleagues. And that 60% protection rate?
Those are actually pretty good odds for avoiding something as
unpleasant as this year’s strains of the disease. In other words, the evidence indicates
that my arguments for not getting a flu shot are pretty lame. Ouch! Clearly, it’s time to put my risk-money
where my risk-mouth is and take the plunge. Which is why I found myself doing my bit
for the heard immunity last week and getting myself vaccinated. But did I get that shot because i
was convinced by the evidence or because i was shamed into it? I’ll swear blind by the former if asked.
Just don’t expect to me to prove it! For more information on this year’s
flu, check out the links in the video blurb below, and stay well!