October is Flu Shot Month

A reminder.

I just want to take a moment to remind folks that October is flu shot month. To help prevent flu this winter, it’s important to get your shot before month-end so the antibodies have a chance to get to work. You can learn more at the CDC Website.

For those of you who say “the flu isn’t so bad,” you’re probably not thinking about the flu. The flu kills people — up to 56,000 people in the U.S. in a recent year. Don’t confuse it with a bad cold. It’s not the same.

And please don’t get me started with conspiracy theories about vaccinations or disproved stories about vaccines being linked to autism. I will not allow you to use this blog to spread misinformation, so save your comments for those foolish enough to believe them. (I do believe in Darwin’s theories and survival of the fittest; with luck, idiots will die off, thus improving the gene pool.)

Herd Immunity
Herd immunity, illustrated. The red dots represent the potential infections. The higher the percentage of vaccinated population, the fewer infections.

If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for the people around you. Read up on herd immunity. The shot you get can prevent you from being a carrier that infects people who can’t get vaccinated, such as babies and people with real allergies to vaccine ingredients.

And finally, I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember ever having to pay for a flu shot. I usually get it at my local supermarket and often it comes with a coupon for 10% off my next grocery purchase. So yes, I’m getting paid to get my shot. So I can’t see how cost can be an issue.

You have no excuses. Get your flu shot this month.

6 thoughts on “October is Flu Shot Month

  1. That’s an interesting point about herd immunity. That I could be a vector for those have low immuneity to become infected. I always wondered why people cared so mch f they were immune and I was the one sick. Good point!

    • Getting a flu shot even if you don’t think you “need” one is one way to be a good neighbor.

      It’s possible to get infected but not get sick (or sick enough to notice); you could then carry the infection to other people who might not be vaccinated and are more likely to get ill. Getting a vaccination helps prevent you from being a carrier and infecting other people. That’s one of the main reasons I get vaccinated.

  2. Like you I go for my annual ‘flu jab’ about this time of year. It makes sense and is most unlikely to do harm but there is a lively debate in the epidemiology journals about just how effective it is. (See Trucchi and Paganino, J. Prev. Med. Hyg. 2015, March, for a good meta-analytical review)
    The influenza virus is rapidly mutating and outbreaks usually begin in the countries of east Asia where farmed poultry (esp. Ducks) are routinely handled by humans. Each year the drug companies have to ‘guess’ the most likely H5N1 variant that might be globally transmitted. Some years they are spot on, last year, the vaccine available in the UK is now judged to have been of little effect. Other diseases probably have more stable viruses and prediction is much more accurate, with a consequent benefit for herd immunity (measles, say).
    Ultimately, the benefits can only be validated by randomised control trials on large vulnerable populations, these necessarily employ the comparison of injecting genuine vaccines to one group and placebos to another. Clearly this involves ethical dilemmas if a vulnerable elderly person is randomly assigned to the placebo cohort and then becomes ill.

    What we do know for sure is that the grand claims made for flu vaccines in the 1980’s, where 50% reductions in mortality were often claimed, were wildly optimistic. The true benefit is unlikely to be greater than a 10% reduction in mortality (see Simonsen, 2007). But this is obviously well worth having.

    • I agree that any reduction in infection, illness, and mortality — for me or the people I come in contact with — is well worth getting jabbed in the arm.

  3. I congratulate you for refusing to allow your blog to be used by the dangerous morons of the anti-vaccination movement. Those people are a select group, their willful ignorance is so egregious that it not only harms them, it harms those around them as well. They are the original “fake news”.

    • Antivaxxers really piss me off. They cause deaths by weakening herd immunity and allowing their children to contract contagious diseases that could be prevented.

What do you think?