Why you should get the flu shot every year

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Shutterstock.com/ Zivica Kerkez

One of the most debated topics in recent years has been the flu shot. Some people think they are so healthy they don’t need it, others think that the flu shot actually makes them sick, and then there are those other people who think the flu shot not only causes diseases but could be some sort of tracking device from the government. We have spoken with a number of doctors and are happy to shed light on why everyone should get a flu shot.

I have a good immune system. I rarely get sick and most flu seasons pass by without me even realizing. In the past when my friends spoke about getting their flu shots I always thought it was an issue for them but not for me. However, after speaking with a number of professionals that is not the case.

One doctor described the flu shot as a seatbelt in a car. Just because you have driven for years and never crashed does not mean you won’t crash tomorrow. Yes even though better drivers have less need for a seat belt than bad drivers, both should wear them. A car accident can happen at any time. It is the same as the flu shot. Although my immune system is strong and I have not got the flu in the last five or so years, next year I could get it. The flu shot is an additional protection that everyone should take.

Even if your immune system is so strong that you are confident you will never get sick, you should take it for other people’s sake. There are people who have conditions that mean they are unable to take a flu shot and are likely the same people who need them most. If the people around them all take the flu shot we are essentially protecting those weaker people with what is called ‘herd immunity’. If you don’t want to take the flu shot for yourself, take it for those who are more at risk and are unable to do so.

Some people do say that when they take the flu shot they get sick. According to leading doctors, these people have simply not been well informed. The flu shot is administered to give you a dead version of a virus so that your immune system can recognize it and prepare antibodies. Then if the real virus attacks, it is prepared. As the virus is being put in your body you may experience a very mild version of the flu for a day or two, but you will recover quickly and likely don’t need to take time off work. People do not get sick from the flu shot but they will display some symptoms for a short amount of time. There is nothing wrong with that.

Others argue that the flu shot is useless as people who take it still seem to get sick. This is a point that needs to be made as the flu shot is not an exact science. Before flu season every year scientists need to judge what flu strain is likely to hit and it can be difficult to tell. They research strains that are picking up and take a decision on what flu strain to vaccinate against. If they are right the flu will be easily defeated by the shot if not people may still get the flu. However, even if you get the flu, the shot should minimize your symptoms a lot so that it is much easier to deal with than if you had not taken a shot. 

Thousands of people die from the flu every year and the statistics show that these are the people who have not got the flu shot. If more people got the flu shot, fewer people would die. That should be the most basic and simple reason that everyone should get the flu shot from now on.