Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flu shots? Not for me

The topic for this week relates to the article linked below.  Essentially, a 61 year old nurse was let go after 21 years of service for refusing to get a flu shot.  She had refused to get a flu shot for the past 21 years.  This year, it was a firable offense.

Nurse Fired for Refusing Flu Shot

I shout foul.  Everyone thinks the flu shot is the best thing ever.  Well, I am here to tell you that it isn't as effective as you might think.  Good hygiene, that is the way to go. 

I vaccinate my kids with all the "have-to" shots.  We do not do the flu shot.  I am sort of cavalier about this.  We have never had the flu.  If we ever get it I might change my mind.  But, my issue with the flu shot is just this, it doesn't really work. 

According to the CDC the flu shot was only 9% effective with older people.  (One source for this statistic)  They categorize that at people 65 and over.  But, I imagine it is some sort of bell curve.  So, the nurse in the article could have gotten the shot and it most likely would have had little impact on her health or the health of her patients.  In my mind, it is not worth putting a forgein substance created by big pharma in my body.  9% effective?  Yeah, I think I'll risk it.

The shot changes from year to year, and since it has to be made before everyone really knows what the flu strains are going to be it is all just a guess.  So, the effectiveness is based on how well the flu forecaster forecasts.  I would say they are probably as good as the weatherman.  Sometimes they nail it, sometimes they don't.  So from year to year, you just don't know.  I appreciate that this is the best that we have.

So, I ask you, do the risks out weigh the rewards in this situation?  I don't think so.  If I knew that the flu shot would protect me 90% of the time, I might feel differently.  50/50?  Yeah, I think I'll take my chances with good hygiene. 

It is just fairly unlikely that the flu will kill you.  According to the CDC about .05% of the people with the flu actually die from it.  Since the shot is maybe 50% effective and the likelihood that I will die from what I am preventing is fairly small, I do not think that the risks outweigh the rewards of the shot.  At the end of the day, I could get the flu shot and still die from the flu.

I feel fairly strongly that until the vaccine is actually effective hospitals have no business firing people for not getting it.  All this hospital did was loose a good nurse.  The statistics show that vaccine or no vaccine she was not protected against the flu this year.

Check out the other ladies take on the subject: Froggie, Momarock, and Merrylandgirl

1 comment:

  1. Interesting perspective. My husband is against getting it for the same reasons.