- “I can deal with the flu and I’m too busy”. Consider this: certain people are particularly vulnerable and more likely to die if they get the flu such as infants, too young to be vaccinated, the immune-compromised (whether from disease or from immune-suppressing medications), pregnant women, and the elderly. Get the flu shot to protect your grandmother. Over 36,000 people die annually from the flu in the US.
- “I don’t need the vaccine because I’ve never had the flu.” Yet, there is no guarantee that you won’t get it. You may have never had a house fire, but that’s not a reason to drop fire insurance.
- “The vaccine gave me the flu.” Impossible. The injectable vaccine contains no live virus, and the nasal spray vaccine contains an attenuated form of virus too weak to cause the disease.
- “It doesn’t work: I was vaccinated but I got the flu anyway.” You may have had another flu-like illness or flu from a strain not covered by the vaccine. If you got the flu from a strain that was covered, you probably had a much milder case than you would have without the vaccine.
- “It causes dangerous side effects.” Most side effects are mild and transient. Serious side effects are extremely rare. The disease is far more dangerous than the vaccine. A sore arm for a couple of days is a small price to pay for avoiding a disease that could kill you.
- “I can protect myself naturally with Echinacea, Airborne, vitamin D, and other natural preventive measures.” There is not data to support this view.
- “The flu isn’t so bad.” Yes it is! It can kill people, put them in the hospital, and cause symptoms so bad they wish they would die. 36,000 people die from the flu annually in the US.
- “It hasn’t been evaluated for safety.” It was evaluated for safety before it went on the market, and surveillance is ongoing. There are 1,342 references on PubMed on the safety of flu vaccine.
- “I don’t want to spend the money.” A lost week of wages, a funeral or a hospital stay costs a lot more than a flu shot.
- “Injecting organisms into your body to provoke immunity is contrary to nature” – according to the infamous Dr. Mercola. Nature kills people. Medicine is all about trying to keep nature from hurting people. “Contrary to nature” is a good thing.
Hall, H. (2016). The skepdoc:flu shots: facts and fallacies. Skeptic (Altadena, CA), (2),
Written by Andrea Foehrkolb