I recently posted about debunking the myths surrounding flu vaccine. Most of the anti-flu-shot commentary I’ve run across is primarily anecdotal (I got a shot, but then got the flu anyway!), or based on questionable “studies” that have since been debunked. Tragically, misinformation is so widespread that many people have come to fear the vaccine more than the potentially fatal disease it is designed to prevent. Lives will be lost as a result.
But this is about more than just the flu. There is an anti-vaccination movement promoted by discredited British physician Andrew Wakefield, actress Jenny McCarthy, and Katie Couric, to name a few. As Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times explains in his article, misinformation about vaccines has led to shocking outbreaks worldwide of largely preventable diseases. Who would have thought, in this time in our history, we’d see outbreaks of Whooping Cough in the United States?
Someone told me they didn’t want to get a flu shot because they didn’t like the idea of “injecting things into their body that weren’t supposed to be there.” When you take a flu shot, you’re injecting “dead” virus, which helps prevent illness. Fail to take a shot, and you risk introducing “live” virus of a disease that kills roughly twice as many people each year as AIDS. The only reason one would decline vaccination given this choice is misinformation.
This is a serious issue for you, your family, and anyone you may contact. It deserves more time and study than you would devote to, say, picking your fantasy football team, or planning a vacation. The links above would be a good place to start.
And yes, fear the disease, not the cure. (OP 1/23/2014)