Is an Annual Flu Shot Necessary for Healthy Individuals?

As flu season fast approaches, it seems that everywhere you look, you are reminded that it’s time to get your annual flu shot. Getting a flu shot is one of the easiest things to do—all it takes is a trip to your local pharmacy or grocery store. Even businesses are starting to offer them right in the office. However, not everyone agrees that you need to receive a flu shot every year if you’re a healthy individual. After weighing the pros and cons of receiving a marginal level of protection, you may decide to skip the trip to the clinic for a flu shot this year, or you may decide that some protection is better than nothing. When making this decision here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Claim Against Flu Shots

An increasing number of doctors, academics, and researchers are questioning the validity of influenza vaccines. For one, the influenza virus is not the cause of the majority of flu-like illnesses, which lowers the effectiveness of widespread vaccinations. Some critics of the vaccination even claim that it functions merely as a placebo. Many also worry about the safety of vaccinations as many vaccines including the influenza shot contain toxins like thimerosal, which is a preservative that contains mercury. Lastly, even in healthy individuals, flu shots only protect against three sometimes four stains, but not the multitude of strains that are always mutating. Due to this, even if a shot boosts your immunity, it won’t protect you from the total range of ever-changing illnesses. One study done in 328 households in Michigan found that the risk of contracting the flu was almost the same in individuals who had the flu shot and those who didn’t, which indicates that there may not be any significant protection from flu vaccines.

The Claim For Flu Shots

Defenders of the flu vaccine insist that widespread vaccination is important, even for healthy adults, as it establishes a sort of herd immunity to the entire population. In this way healthy individuals who receive the flu shot are protecting the weakest in society, namely children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. On top of this, advocates of the flu shot point out that creating an up to date flu shot every year keeps vaccine factories ready for the day that a more dangerous strain threatens humanity with a real pandemic, such as the one that killed thousands of Americans in 1918.

Deciding to Get the Flu Shot

There are a few things you need to be aware of if you decide to get a flu shot as a healthy adult. Firstly, the flu shot is created in hen eggs, and so if you have allergies to eggs then you could get a reaction. Also keep in mind that anything that has to be re-configured year after year is not risk-free, and contamination is a constant threat. Also, as mentioned earlier, most flu vaccines that are received in multi-dose vials are preserved in the chemical thimerosal, which is a form of mercury. This type of mercury has been known to be the root of inflammatory and neurological disease. There have also been recent cases of narcolepsy found in Finland and convulsions in Australia that flu vaccines were blamed for. The elderly are the most vulnerable of society, and require the most protection from influenza. The flu shot does work well for their bodies, as the elderly immune systems are often too weak to respond. In the end it is your decision as to whether or not a flu shot is worth the risks, especially if you are a healthy individual.

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