So, every September, we all start seeing signs regarding the flu vaccine. It is advertised EVERYWHERE – grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and parenting magazines. I even had a recorded message on my voicemail the other day urging me to get vaccinated. It cannot be escaped. The question is, are people getting vaccinated?
The simple answer here is: no. Even though doctors recommend that everyone should be vaccinated, starting at six months, for one reason or another, many individuals choose to forgo the shot. Some aren’t worried about the flu, others just hate getting shots in general, and some believe that it is a big waste of time and that the vaccine isn’t going to help them anyway. We also cannot forget the group who believes that getting the shot will cause them to contract the flu (yes, I used to be in that group). What do you think?
The flu vaccine never really crossed my mind until I started student teaching third graders and then became a fourth grade teacher. The school provided the shots and I wanted to be protected for myself and for my students. A few years later, my doc strongly recommended it when I was pregnant and nursing. It was a no-brainer when I knew that I could be protecting my newborn babies by being protected myself – not to mention they receive some of that vaccine protection through breast milk. I was expecting my second child in 2009, the year that H1N1 broke out, and the vaccine was hard to come by. People were panicked and doctor’s offices had to wait a very long time before they had enough for all of their patients. I think I finally was able to get the vaccine a few weeks after I had my daughter. I felt lucky.
Now that I have two children, getting vaccinated against the flu is a family affair. We all “got shot” in October. Rather than telling our five year old that he is getting a shot, we explain that the nurse is just giving him medicine to protect him from the flu. I think he gets it.
Over the years I have discovered that the flu shot is quite the controversial topic. People have strong opinions about it. Some believe that they will get sick from the shot itself (it is true that you may experience mild symptoms) and others truly believe that the shot is just a big conspiracy for companies to make money and that it offers no real protection. Whatever your opinion, I trust my pediatrician. If he tells me that it is the best way to protect my kids from being sick, and possibly being hospitalized, you don’t really need to tell me twice.
Have you been vaccinated yet this season? If you spend time with small children, especially babies under six months who cannot be protected, it just may be worth your while. Protecting yourself also protects the ones around you!
What is your outlook on the flu shot? Does your family get it?