Wednesday, October 20th, 2004 • No Comments on I’ll Take My Chances
I won’t be getting a flu shot this year. I could, because I’m one of those high risk people they encourage to get the shot. I probably could even if I wasn’t high risk because I’m a military dependent and we get all the good stuff. But I won’t. I didn’t get one last year because I put it off too long and the one day I made the effort, the flu clinic wasn’t open yet. I have been pretty good about getting vaccinated in previous years, though, and I probably would have gotten one this year if not for this shortage. This year, I feel like someone else probably needs it more than I do and I want to make sure I’m not buying into the hysteria the media is perpetuating.
This whole issue of a flu vaccine shortage annoys me. There are the long lines—which seem reminiscent of Cold War Russia—and whiny people saying they need the shot more than this person or that group. There are the politics of why we’re having a shortage and whether Canadian drugs are now okay to use when they haven’t been okay in the past. There are the politicians and prisoners who are getting their flu shots while infants and the elderly are waiting in long lines. And then there is the media, which has turned the situation into a big, scary deal (as if the prospect of four more years of W. isn’t scary enough)—if you don’t get a flu shot you will DIE!
The fact that we have a shortage of flu vaccine is atrocious. This is not good health care. Especially not in an election year. The horror!
The fact that people who don’t truly need a flu shot are fighting for it, is ridiculous. If you’re usually healthy 360 days of the year and have a good immune system, you’ll be okay. If you do come down with the flu, it probably won’t be severe and you
survive. Take those sick leave days you’ve been hoarding like little old ladies hoard cats and use them accordingly.
Speaking of which, I think the absolute
thing people can do to minimize the risk of a flu epidemic is to stay home when they’re sick and to insist that coworkers and children also stay home when they’re sick. I bet if employers would make their staff use their sick days and send sick people home, we could cut the flu cases in half. The flu vaccine doesn’t protect against all strains of influenza, but avoiding the spread of germs by staying home when you’re sick protects against pretty much everything.
Washing your hands frequently is also an amazing low-tech way to avoid the spread of germs. But there are no long lines for that, and—so far—no water shortage to complain about, so it doesn’t make for good news, does it?
If you need a flu shot, get one. I’m the first to admit I’m probably not the best role model when it comes to taking care of myself. My noble convictions have a bad habit of backfiring on me like that.
And yeah, I know. I’m going to get the flu this year. You don’t have to gloat about it, though.