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It's making the rounds, but lest you've missed it.

And yes, I got mine. I used to be dumbass and didn't, but I've returned to my rational roots the past half-decade or so. Do us a favor?
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37 comments
 
Tried to get one today, and they're all out of supply in the STL area!
 
I haven't gotten them before, but this article brings up an interesting perspective. That said, I kind of want to continue not getting flu shots just to spite the sanctimonious author of this article.
 
At least we know who to blame for the downfall of the entire fucking race, +Daniel Koeker. But hey, at least Google+ will survive and the next species to occupy our niche will know who to thank.
 
If only I were so important. As introverted as I am, I think the only one I'd possibly infect would be my computer screen. :P I'll have to check out when my local pharmacy is doing it... I'm pretty sure they're always giving the shots.
 
Sorry, +Evo Terra, I've done plenty of research on this and have a Bachelor's of Science in Microbiology from the University of Michigan under my belt...but I see very LITTLE reason for anyone between the ages of 15 to 55 to get a flu shot.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say...save the $25 that you would have paid for the shot, and...if on the off chance you DO get the flu, spend the $25 on chicken soup and tea.  In fact, you'll probably only spend $10 before you actually feel better.  And I've saved you $15! :)
 
We have 5 people here.. 2 that got flu shots, 3 that did not.. Guess who didn't get the flu? It wasn't the ones with the flu shots..
 
Well, I haven't gotten a flu shot during the past 10 years.  Haven't had the flu but once...during that "swine flu" epidemic...and I happened to get the NON-swine flu which wasn't part of the flu shot to begin with.  Go figure.
 
Be wary confirmation bias, +Joe Etten. It's a powerful ruse, but one that disappears when you increase the sample size beyond single digits.
 
+Evo Terra, it works...ironically.  My former 11th grade computer programming teacher would have said to include "Southern Comfort" as well...but I only wanted to post things that actually have been proven to help as stated in peer-reviewed journal articles.
 
So chicken soup and tea as anti-viral agents and relevant statistics on a samples size of one, +Dejan Jancevski. Hey, at least you have football. GO BLUE!
 
Well, if you like, we can always look up such research articles in say...British Journal of Medicine, Journal of Microbial Medicine, Journal of Social Health (I could go on and on)...or we could listen to our moms who all told us to rest, have soup, drink water/tea... 
 
I never got the flu shot because I threaten my family to leave me alone and stay in bed with tea, books, laptop, and plenty of NyQuil. I treat sick days like a vacation. BTW, I want chicken soup right now.
 
I always get my flu shot. And I cringe every time someone tells me they got the flu right after getting a flu shot so they don't get it anymore. No, you got a cold.
 
+Evo Terra You might think so, but you also have to understand that what many THINK is the flu, is not always the flu. The flu shot does no good in those cases either. People have this tendency to believe any time they toss their cookies, it's gotta be the flu. People rarely go in to get it diagnosed because the doctor can't really do anything for you unless you are so badly dehydrated that you need an IV drip. In any case, I reject your reality and substitute my own. It's worked for me for 36+ years.
 
+Casey Garske, actually in rare cases...people who get the flu shot CAN actually contract the flu from it.  Usually it's because they have 1 version of the flu that their immune system has an immunity to, but that virus is able to mutate with the flu shot virus and create a 3rd type of flu that your body may NOT have an immunity to...so...while it is rare...it does happen.
 
+Joe Etten, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "tossing your cookies" pretty much a sign of food poisoning?
 
Sample size of one: The only times (there was more than one and less than three times) I've tossed my cookies in the past five years have been because of food poisoning. I've also been getting the flu shot every year because at my job, it costs me $10 and they do it on-site. No flu yet, and I work around germy college students.
 
[sigh] It's a long road to hoe.
 
Uh... +Dejan Jancevski it's impossible to get the flu from the vaccine. The virus is dead. The virus shell is all that's left and that's enough to ramp your body's immune response up. I can't actually parse what you're saying there but it sounds like bullshit.
 
I should add I'm talking about the shot, in case someone decides to be a smartass. The flu-mist is weakened virus and can give you a runny nose for a day or two. Personally, I feel kinda wiped out the day after the shot while my immune system kicks in. A lot better than a week of wishing I was dead and endangering everyone around me.
 
What happens when a different strain of flu is predominant than the ones everyone is immunized for?
 
You're partially protected and if you do get it, it's a lot weaker.
 
We were instructed by our pediatrician to consider skipping the shot, as it takes 6 weeks for your immune system to be fully ready, and the flu season would be over by then. That, and the shot is just as "quick cash grab scheme" by pharmaceutical companies. Yes, a doctor told us that the flu shot was pointless and a waste of money.

Still, it is pretty pointless to bicker about either getting it or not. There are people who've never received a shot for anything in their lives and have never been sick, just as much as there are those who have and have been illness free. It seems a bit sad that something so simple as conversation about getting a flu shot, can devolve into a heated exchange where people's intelligence is questioned.

This is all personal experience and choices here. If you feel you need it and have never been bitten by the flu as a result, GREAT! You are proof that the vaccine CAN work. If you are one who has abstained and has never had a negative outcome by not getting the shot, GREAT! You have a good immune system and others should be so lucky. But are we really gonna start questioning people's personal choices when those choices have proven to work? Maybe it's not for you, but for them their method works. 
 
I'm not reading all the comments because I am a microbiologist and vaccine debates often make me want to throw my monitor across the room. The flu vaccine is dead and cannot give you flu. Adults do not typically have GI symptoms with the flu, though 40% of kids do (and no, we have no idea why, because the flu doesn't get into the GI tract of humans). If they screw up with the strain choice, you still have immunity to that strain should it pop up next year or the year after. The vaccine takes 6 weeks to work because that's how long your immune system takes to create an antibody response; at the moment, it is physically impossible to make it work faster, and it may never be possible to hurry it up.

The vaccine works well for about 2/3 of people. On one hand, that's not great odds. On the other hand, I've had the flu at least 8 times in my life and it is absolutely miserable. You cannot mistake it for a cold. It will make you Wish For Death (or at least unconsciousness until it's over.)

OK, rant over, personal narrative starts here:
I got the vaccine this year (like I do every year) partly because I seem to catch every damn virus that comes through and partly because herd immunity is awesome.

I didn't have to pay squat for it because my insurance is good. And, because I work in the same building as a hospital, it literally took 10 minutes (8 of which were walking to and from the clinic) and they gave me a free $5 Starbucks gift card for participating.

The flu vaccine isn't really much of a moneymaker, from what I understand. The eggs for producing the vaccine are heinously expensive compared to what you get at the grocery store and literal metric tonnes are required. The gross is great, but the net is pretty gross.

I did get the flu this year. On one hand, yeah, it sucked and I was annoyed that the vaccine didn't protect me. On the other hand, it was the least awful flu I've ever experienced. I was laid up with excruciating joint pain - for 36 hours instead of the usual 3-4 days. I was up and about in 3 days and back to normal in a week (as compared to a week and two weeks, respectively). It literally halved my suffering, not to mention that the lingering cough that many people are nursing weeks later disappeared in a week with the rest of the lingering symptoms.

TL;DR
You're allowed to make your own decisions about the vaccine, and I want you to have the most complete information possible. If your insurance is good, it's a really good idea. (If you have to pay sticker price, it's a harder choice).

The odds are good that the vaccine will seriously reduce your chances of being sick and your chances of being seriously sick (how much does it cost you to miss work?).

But possibly more importantly, getting the vaccine helps protect the vulnerable people in your life; if you have a small child or an elderly relative in your house, if you know somebody who is immunocompromised, you getting the vaccine might keep them from getting sick, which could potentially save their life. You aren't just doing it for you, you're doing it for all of us.
 
Read the whole thing +Christine Lloyd. Thanks for that. I was in the 'flu shots make me sick' camp because I did not know the difference between a cold and flu (due to lack of experience). After getting the flu several weeks ago (which turned into pneumonia), I realized I haven't had the flu in years. That was some scary stuff. I'll be in line next season. 
 
+Christine Lloyd, I applaud you.  I'm a pharmacist and I know from my sources that supplies of the vaccine are not evenly spread, and if people had gotten a shot a few months ago we'd be having fewer issues with spread of the flu now.  Unfortunately, there have been some new strains going around, but that happens...folks have been lulled into a false sense of security by a couple of mild flu seasons.  We're getting payback now.
 
From one of the MDs at our hospital in from this morning:

Vaccine has 62% effectiveness this year; this is good.
Influenza vaccination, even with moderate effectiveness, has been shown to reduce illness, antibiotic use, doctor visits, time lost from work, hospitalizations, and deaths (6). Results for the 2012–13 season indicate that vaccination has reduced the risk for influenza-associated medical visits by approximately 60%, demonstrating the benefits of influenza vaccination during the current season.
 
+Casey Garske, well...you're partially correct.  While the "dead" flu virus itself cannot infect you and cause you to have the flu, it does have proteins and RNA that can be used by a live flu virus.  As such, if that "dead" RNA is able to recombine with "live" RNA, then a NEW strain of the flu can be created...it's the same as having a pig flu and bird flu both combine to infect a human.  Anyhow, like I said...regardless of the fact that it can happen, it is extremely rare.

As for having a flu strain that is not covered by the vaccine being used, it all depends on the 2 proteins that make up the viral coat.  If one of the proteins is part of the vaccine, then your immune system should be able to fight off the new flu strain and you MIGHT end up with a mild form of the flue.  However, if the strain you have has neither protein coded for in the vaccine strain, then you WILL have full-blown flu. 

To illustrate: Vaccine flu assumes the flu will be made of proteins A1 and B1.  So if you get the A1B2 flu, you'll be partially covered.  However, if you get A2B2, expect to have the full blown flu.  In some case the vaccine will have 2 strains of the flu (e.g., A1B1 and A2B2).  Again, if you have an A3B3 strain, you'll have full blown flu...so just saying. :)
 
I prefer to keep my immune system on its toes, if it's not something that has a high mortality rate I'd rather let my body deal with it on its own. The day that they make a flu shot that immunizes me against all know mutations of the virus will be the only day that I will bother with it.
 
Well, we're working on that! (Not me personally, but several labs are on the case looking for a universal flu vaccine.)

Dejan, I'm unclear how the RNA from the flu shot could make its way from the arm (where it's administered) to the respiratory tract (where the virus is). My understanding is that RNA gets degraded pretty quickly by the body; the RNA in my experiments certainly seems to degrade if I look at it funny. If you could point me to the case study or article on flu shot/wild virus recombination, I'd love to read it - that's just the sort of crazy random biology that I love.

(Current favorite "the hell?" case study: guy comes in with Pseudomonas prostatitis, or a soil bacterium infecting his prostate. Holy ouch, and that's also not a place you'd ever expect to see Pseudomonas. Sounded like it took a while to diagnose and treat, for exactly that reason. Turns out he and his wife had gotten a hot tub, filled it from the stream behind their home, and had intimate relations in it. Yikes. Note to self: use municipal water for filling up hot tubs.)
 
+Christine Lloyd, you assume that the ONLY place that an active flu virus would be found is in the lungs.  The virus will flow through the blood stream.  What feeds the sugars needed by muscles?  The blood stream.  As I said, while it is rare...it is possible. 
 
Was all set for the "how the hell did soil bacteria make it to the prostate" question, +Christine Lloyd. Then you answered it. Wow. Note to self: no pegging in the lake.
 
Dejan, all that I've seen talking of virus in the blood so far is a patient with H5N1 the day before he died. (Though I definitely could be missing a lot, as most of the hits are for blood tests for influenza antibodies no matter how I search.) At that point, his bloodstream and his lungs would probably be continguous because of all the damage/pneumonia. In that case, I'll accept that it is a possibility, but it seems incredibly distant. Unless the virus can replicate in the muscle (which would be another astonishing finding) or the RNA was making to the lung where it was encountering cells with replicating virus, the twain might meet but it wouldn't actually result in anything because the virus would have to replicate for recombination.

So in short, it's theoretically possible, but if your lungs are disintegrating due to severe pneumonia secondary to influenza, a recombinant virus will be the least of your worries and the hospital staff and visitors will probably be taking pretty serious precautions to keep you safe from further infections.
 
I didn't get a flu shot this year. I don't plan to get one. But I'm not going to bitch about not getting a flu shot if I get the flu. 
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