Sunday, October 20, 2013

Public Service Announcement

Yesterday into this morning, I had an experience for the second time in the last 5 years:
fever, chills and body aches, coming on rapidly, which subsequently went away with no further ill effects within a day.

Being a health care professional, getting an annual flu shot has become a non-optional event, and this is thus the second time I can attest that this year's shot works, as evidenced by someone giving me one of this year's strains, my immune system kicking in, and the total disappearance of symptoms within a day.

There are two vaccines out this year: a tri-valent and a quadra-valent brew, hopefully good against three and four possible strains, respectively. (I got the tri-valent recipe.) Every year the flu virus mutates, and the CDC et al try to guess which way the prevalent strains will jump, and then concocting, for example, a vaccine that'll kill African B, Asian Q, and European X (all pulled out of thin air to illustrate the point) strains. Some years they hit nothing, some one, occasionally two, and rarely all three prevalent strains.

But I can tell you three things this morning:
1) School is in session, so it's flu season. There's nothing like millions of children sharing their cooties by sticking their fingers into each others' mouths to breed and propagate the annual epidemic when they bring it home each day.
2) At least one (or more) of this year's virus(es) are covered by this year's shot, based on my personal anecdotal evidence.
3) Flu shots work. If you're anti-vaccination, I'll talk with you when you show me Jenny McCarthy's Ph.D. in biochemistry. Otherwise you're a lunatic Luddite, and deserve a week or two's misery.

Get your flu shot.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but I know someone that their specialist blames their first flu shot ever to have kicked off their immune response to the point that they now have RA. Lemme see, seasonal flu or life long RA, choices, choices. Their are many risks involved in vaccines. Your anecdotal commentary is just another testimonial and they are like opinions. You were in the military, so you know what I'm saying.

Aesop said...

There's always an infinitesimal risk in anything you do, including doing nothing.

The friend's doctor's opinion is also third-hand anecdota, and worth about as much. If he had actual evidence, he'd publish, and get a Nobel Prize in Medicine.

If someone is just looking for something to justify their biases, reasons are superfluous.

If they're looking at statistical science, flu shots good, Jenny McCarthy bad.

In the end, the only one who suffers by not getting the shot is you (and everyone else you infect), and it's a free country.