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