According to the National Immunization Survey (NIS-Flu), roughly half of the United States population gets vaccinated for influenza every year. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illnesses resulting in hospitalization or even death.
“Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its website.
Although the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), recommends the annual flu vaccination, many people do not receive the flu shot. Reasons range from fear of side effects to belief that the vaccination is unnecessary.
Many vaccines are required for Nobles students, but the flu shot is not one of them. Because of this exception, there are students such as Julia Trull (Class I) who do not receive the flu shot. “The last time I got a flu shot, I got sick almost immediately after getting it. And then I haven't gotten it in the past couple years, and I’ve been completely healthy,” Trull said.
Trull was then asked if she refrains from other vaccinations beyond the flu shot. “No, no. I don’t think that other vaccinations cause anything, and I can’t think of any others that I haven’t gotten in fear of getting sick besides the flu shot,” Trull said.
Jesse Brownell (Class I) feels differently about getting the flu shot: “Yes, I do get flu shots. Yes, I do believe that they prevent the flu.” She believes people who do not receive the vaccination contribute to the spread of the disease.
“I think people have a really bad understanding of it [the flu shot] when they think like, ‘oh, they’re injecting me with the disease,’ but it’s like a non-harmful strain of it,” Brownell said. She further asserted that there is no disadvantage to getting the flu shot. “People that don’t vaccinate their kids are incredibly irresponsible,” she said.
On the other hand, Skye Henderson (Class I) does not receive the flu shot. One of the reasons is because he says his mother, similarly to Trull, had received the flu shot last year, yet was infected the week after. “I don’t know [if the flu shot causes harm], but it happened to my mom and it happened to my dad after they got the flu shot, and I’ve never gotten the flu shot. I got it once when I was a baby, and I’ve yet to get the flu, ever,” Henderson said.
In addition to his family’s unsuccessful history with the vaccination, Henderson avoids the shot because he thinks it is unnecessary. “Flu shots definitely can reduce the risk of you getting the flu, but often times they are useless,” he said.
Regardless of the reasoning, roughly one in two American citizens do not receive the flu shot. The decision is heavily shaped by personal opinion.
By Max Von Schroeter, Copy Editor, February 2019