What’s your reason for skipping the flu shot? Maybe you don’t like needles, or you never get sick. Or you read something on the Internet that claims the vaccine’s not safe, or it’s ineffective. Whatever your reason, let’s see how it stacks up against bioethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan’s reasons why getting vaccinated is the right thing to do:
The fact is: The flu shot’s not about you. It’s about what epidemiologists call herd immunity. Simply put, the more people who get vaccinated, the harder it is for the virus to spread. And the fewer people get sick from the flu every year.
Which means: Your flu shot is especially crucial for the high-risk people in your community. This goes for newborns, cancer patients, transplant recipients, and other people who can’t get the shot, but are at high risk of dying from the flu.
And your flu shot also helps protect senior citizens. Because even when older people are vaccinated, they don’t develop as much immunity to the flu as younger people do. And if you get sick, the effect on your grandparents could be deadly.
If that sounds overly dramatic, then remember that this winter’s flu epidemic has already closed schools in several states. Cities are declaring public health emergencies. And at least 20 kids and 35 adults have died from the virus and there’s still plenty of flu season ahead of us.
It’s not too late to get a flu shot! Experts anticipate that the flu season will run through the end of April. And within two weeks of getting a shot, your bloodstream will be teaming with flu-fighting antibodies that’ll protect you and everyone around you.