To inoculate or not to inoculate? Flu vaccinations may prevent future illness

Ruthee Ivers, Contributing Writer

Flu season has come again, and many Americans will not get their flu vaccines.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, comes with many uncomfortable symptoms and can keep anyone out of class and work for up to a couple of weeks. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website offers some of the symptoms of the flu.

 “People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea though this is more common in young children than in adults.”

So with such unpleasant symptoms, why do so many opt out of the one preventative tool available? 

Recently, a survey was collected and included participants from college age to retirement age. Out of the sixty-seven asked if they had gotten their flu shot, only twenty had gotten vaccinated. 

Most who were not vaccinated were not planning on getting vaccinated. 

There are many reasons why people don’t get their flu shots, and some of them involve pretty basic reasons. 

For example, sophomore Jasmin Ingram blamed fear for her flu vaccine avoidance.  

“I haven’t gotten one since 2007 because I don’t like shots.”

Others have more physical aversions to the shot. Because sometimes allergies can keep people from getting their vaccine. 

“I can’t get a flu shot because I am allergic to eggs,” health and human performance major Baily Boydton said. 

And this is a valid reasons—egg allergies can, in fact, impact the recipient’s physical state and cause allergic reactions of varying degrees. 

For others, it may be time to bite the bullet, so to speak. 

The CDC website states the effects of the flu on the United States. 

“Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year,” the site said.

“Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.”

Obviously, there are many people who argue the flu vaccine itself only inoculates individuals against one strain, but the issue may be even more general for others. 

When several members at Countryside Baptist Church were asked why they did not get the flu shot, the responses included both spectrums. 

“If everyone else is getting theirs, then I shouldn’t get one,” church member Pam Russo said.

Other members such as head pastor Justin Dunn chose to get get their flu vaccine. 

“I got mine because the percentages of not getting the flu go up if I do get the shot and, if I get sick, it lessens the effects,” he said. 

It is important to remember that, even if a person gets vaccinated, he or she can still get the flu. 

In fact, the CDC website states,“there is still a possibility you could get the flu even if you got vaccinated. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on various factors, including the age and health status of the person being vaccinated, and also the similarity or ‘match’ between the viruses used to make the vaccine and those circulating in the community.”

Many people do not know that, once vaccinated, “it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection” according to the CDC website.

So, why get the flu shot?

The CDC also offers a few specific reasons why everyone should get vaccinated for the flu. 

“While how well the flu vaccine works can vary, there are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year,” according to their website. 

• Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.

• Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu. 

(Mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.)

• And a 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.

• Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick. 

• Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.”

Those who choose vaccination also had many reasons for prevention. 

OBU students who did get vaccinated provided some answers to why they were vaccinated when they were surveyed in the Geiger Center. Some answers involved basic reasoning behind them. 

“My mom told me to,” English major Cloe Harrison said.

Others simply want to avoid the painful symptoms associated with the virus. 

 “I got the flu twice and I felt like I was dying,” graphic design major Chaleb Cole said.

 “I don’t want that to happen again, so I got my shot,” 

Even if you do get the flu, it is important to remember to not spread it. 

The CDC website lists a few measures that can be taken in order to avoid spreading the flu.

 “The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.”

There are a lot of places to go get your flu shot. 

It can cost up to $40, but, if you have health insurance, the shot could be free according to 20somethingfinance.com. 

The website lists a few places to go to find out if you can get a free shot. 

“Your Employer, your Physician through your Health Insurance and your County Health Department.” 

If you do not qualify for a free shot, the website also offers a list of places with the cheapest flu vaccines:

• Costco Flu Shots: No trivalent this year. $19.99 for quadrivalent. 

• CVS Flu shots: No trivalent (yet this year). $41 for quadrivalent.

• Walgreen’s Flu Shots: Costs $31.99 for trivalent. $39.99 for quadrivalent.

• Rite Aid Flu Shots: Costs $35 for trivalent. $40 for quadrivalent.

• Meijer Flu Shots: No trivalent (yet this year). $35.99 for quadrivalent.

• Wal Mart Flu Shots: Costs $27.88 for trivalent. $39.88 for quadrivalent.

• Sam’s Club Flu Shots: No trivalent this year. $30 for quadrivalent. 

Flu shots at the Sam’s Club Pharmacy is one of the services you can get from Sam’s Club without a membership.

• Kroger Flu Shots: Costs $30 for trivalent. $40 for quadrivalent.

• Target Flu Shots: No trivalent (yet this year). $39.99 for quadrivalent. 

Note that CVS now runs all Target pharmacies, so prices are the same, but you do get a $5 Target gift card if you get a flu shot at a Target CVS pharmacy

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