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The flu shot: Let's work together in herd-like fashion
Columnist Denis Grignon (definitely not pictured above) is as loyal to the flu shot as he is with mayo and certain kinds of sandwiches.

The flu shot: Let’s work together in herd-like fashion

in Columnists/Health by

I get the flu shot every year. Without fail. I’m loyal to it, the way I’m loyal administering only mayonnaise – never mustard – on any sandwich that includes lettuce.

Yes, administering. It’s a precise process, that. Too much and it seeps off the edges. Too little and I may as well get a fake sandwich at Tim’s.

The flu shot: Let's work together in herd-like fashion
Columnist Denis Grignon.

The flu shot does not, however, prevent the dizziness and nausea I feel each and every time I speak to someone who insists it is unnecessary, evil even, and part of a worldwide wicked plot.

Me: Yup, got my flu shot today. Totally comfortable with that decision, too. Good choice, I say. Like this ham and lettuce sandwich. With mayo .

Them: Oh, so you don’t mind contributing to the nefarious goals of everyone from Big Oil and Big Tobacco to that scientist who refuses to divulge the Caramilk secret, then.

Me: Um….I base my decision on the conclusions that medical science and its practitioners – many of whom have decades of training and have conducted thousands of trials – came to. And you? How did you come to your skeptical conclusions?

Them: I have an iPad, a good internet connection and a propensity for seeking out harebrained conspiracy theories. 

There’s no reason for me to expend energy on to them, expounding on strong data, empirical scientific evidence and case studies.

Or that history shows us vaccines helped eradicate century-old illnesses like polio and rubella. I may as well try convincing these naysayers that the moon is made of nerf and that red haired children are more prone to lacto-intolerance. (Note: Children with red hair are not more prone to lactose intolerance – or so the so-called “experts” would have us believe, anyway).

The anti-vaxx lobby, it’s important to note, is not the exclusive province of the poor and disenfranchised, either. Most anti-vaxxers I’ve met are well-educated, upwardly mobile and shop at IKEA – (online, cuz that leaves more time to binge watch Game of Thrones and bottle homemade wine). And they’re always eager to show photos of their pure-bred dogs or all-inclusive holidays on their $1,100 dollar phones.

Them: And this is one of us with our new fiend Edouardo, the nice gentleman who was the bartender, limbo teacher and also gassed up our jet-skis.

Me: Yes, you all have nice smiles.

Them: His smile is bigger, don’t you think? (laughs) Probably because we gave him, as a gift, $100 worth of cold medication. His people have a very difficult time finding it down there.

Me: Probably as difficult for them to find a free flu vaccine.

Them: And thank goodness for that, eh! 

Choosing not to get the flu shot “because I never get sick” is like choosing not to pull the drapes closed “because it’s unlikely someone will walk by to see me air guitaring to Pearl Jam in my underpants.”

Yeah, it’s unlikely. Until it isn’t.

Getting the flu shot isn’t just about your well-being. It’s about working together in herd-like fashion to keep a virus at bay and protecting the well-being of others. And, also, it’s about keeping me from getting dizzy when I hear those vapid arguments against the flu shots.

Denis Grignon is a professional stand-up comic and weekend morning host at BOB-FM in Lindsay.


  1. In rebuttal to “The flu shot: Let’s work together in herd-like fashion”, I am afraid that I can speak anecdotally about the topic. During the flu inoculation season last year, I received a shot on a Saturday morning. By the late afternoon, I knew that something was wrong. I had driven 6 blocks from my home on the way to going to a movie and I turned immediately around. The flu shot worked … it gave me the flu. This was not a simple 24 hour stomach bacteria, this was a debilitating respiratory flu which lasted months. I did not eat but spent hours sleeping in bed both at night and day. I would awaken for about an hour at a time and then be overcome by fatigue.

    After a number of months I sought medical assistance and was met with the acknowledgement that I had a viral infection, there was no solution to the problem but also the assurance that the vaccine could not be responsible. My own personal speculation was that perhaps the batch that I was administered was not processed properly and I was given an active form of the virus. While it is important that a mechanism exists that will allow treatments to be decentralized (available at pharmacies etc.), I will not participate in another inoculation again unless it is an emergency. My grandparents lived through the Spanish Flu but never were inoculated annually to prevent the flu and they lived as old as 99. I practice restraint when I enter public situations and rarely am in the situation to encounter infections from others (don’t go to schools, music events or other congregations of people). I haven’t even returned to see a movie since that day over a year ago.

    While I am not telling people to avoid being inoculated (…yes I am), I am suggest that it isn’t absolutely a necessity.

  2. Denis Grignon, definitely “not pictured above”! Every one, who knows media, knows Denis never wears green! The reason is that he has agreed not to give any more publicity to this North Fenelon Township media Senior Editor. This is a bit of a shot, but there is a positive in that he is finally showing some respect for this retired, ink stained wretch, who at one time read from the Emily pulpit. Monsieur G., according to the rumours(perhaps of the Roman persuasion) is a covert, occasional visitor to the United Church , who it’s generally agreed, are the long time, patient, guiding gentry of Lindsay’s North Ward! So one might say why is this correspondent seeming to goad the town’s best comic? It’s because he is now working a shift at the local radio station under the strange name of the COKL Yokel .Now gentle reader, he only got the job, because back when he was a working guy he was employed by the CBC. In French, this means,”Old Son, you’ve got it made for LIFE!” Now as a former Maclean Hunter Radio Editor I shall unmask him, with a challenge. He must agree we form a comedy team. We will use,Bernard Doubt, my pro ventriloquism figure. I will move the head and all, while The Denis will read VENT funny lines.All money raised will be used to bribe the local NDP faction to not submit a candidate in the next election! No New Dems-No Tories! The New Dems are Hunky Dory. Vote for Grits and not for_____!We’re on Denis!

  3. Well, I seem to have caused Denis Grignon to somewhat retire from the field after my challenge that he and I form a ventriloquist team. My next move will be to send a colour photograph of my vent figure, Bernard Doubt. Our first lesson will be to say,”Bottle of Beer” without moving one’s lips. So, we’ll let Comic Grignon tread water for a while . My next act is to relay a small item I got, but never knew how to use it on the radio. It took place in North Fenelon Township in 1886. A Toronto tourist moved up for the summer to a little cabin between Pickerel Point Road and Kennedy Bay. This visitor was to take his buggy into town that Saturday evening and play a Chopin Etude. He started to get dressed and then in incredible surprise he was looking into the face of a beautiful woman, Her black eyes, accentuated by her olive skin, held a pleading expression. She did not speak , and suddenly he was alone in the room. -30-rono

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