While the CDC recommends a yearly flu shot, many are concerned about its safety and effectiveness. Many argue that as the virus mutates, vaccination is necessary to continuously protect yourself and the vulnerable in the community. Others raise concerns about the preservative thimerosal in the vaccines, as well as whether they could actually give people the flu.
— Molly Banta, Nia Creator
Flu shots get a bad rap because of the preservative in some of them (thimerosal), questionable effectiveness sometimes, and evidence of transference to other patients.
That being said, thimerosal has shown not to be an issue, we often don't know if the vaccine for a given season will work until it's too late, and you can't actually get or give the flu to another patient from a vaccine (aka, don't get too worried about it).
Many seasons, we do end up with an effective vaccine, and that's the best we can currently hope for. It's important to remember that with the potential upside, there really isn't much of a downside.
Most importantly, "herd immunity" is an important line of defense for those who cannot get vaccinated. Sometimes it's just that simple — we work together and everybody wins. We all just need to pull our own weight.
It makes sense to me why some people don't go through the effort to get a flu shot. We all lead busy lives, with many of us making a decision by not making a decision. It takes effort and purpose to go get a flu shot, where avoiding the shot is the easy default.
For this reason I don't think we can be convinced to get a flu shot simply by saying 'why not? what do you have to lose?'. Showing that merely a small downside is not enough -- there must be a compelling reason and demonstrated effectiveness to get most of us to our local drug store to receive the shot.
I personally think the nia shows compelling and demonstrated positives to the flu shot. Effectiveness may taper during some seasons but some effectiveness is better than the 0 effectiveness of "being healthy". Similarly, the necessity to protect those around you who are particularly vulnerable to the flu but cannot receive the vaccination (babies and those with certain allergies or immune system disorders) should create an urgency for us all to be sure to guarantee them protection.
After reviewing the nia, Flu shots seem to prevent more danger than they allegedly cause. Most research doesn't only suggest, rather asserts, that flu vaccines cannot cause the flu. It's meant to prevent epidemics, not cause them, and statistics indicate that the flu shot has successfully been doing just that in previous years. Given that it's extensively tested each year and all ingredients are safe, there seems no reason not to take measures to ensure the health of yourself and your community.
The evidence seems to suggest that everyone should be getting flu shots this year. With minimal side effects, and the possibility of avoiding illness, there are few downsides to getting the vaccine. The ingredients have been shown to be safe.
My only concern is that the flu shot is not 100 percent effective. However, because there are no clear negative side effects, I say it's better to be safe than sorry. With no major risks, you might as well get the shot and hope that this year it keeps you covered.
From reading the research compiled in the Nia, getting the 2015 flu shot is important for everyone. The potential side effects of the flu shot described in the research seem minimal compared to flu symptoms, and definitely worth not contracting the flu. However, it is a little worrisome that the flu vaccine can potentially be ill matched to the strains in the circulating virus, but no evidence supports that this is the case with the 2015 flu vaccine. Getting the flu shot is doubly important because, not only can it help protect ourselves from the flu, but others around us who, for various reasons, are unable to get the vaccine themselves.
After reading through the results of the research above, I think it is important for everyone, if possible, to get a flu shot in 2015. Although effectiveness is never guaranteed, because it is impossible to know for sure which strains will be prevalent in a given year, evidence points towards this year's shot being relatively effective. Side effects and the likelihood of getting the flu as a result of the flu shot appear to be minimal, making the potential rewards of the shot higher than the risks. Additionally, it is important for everyone in the community to receive the shot in order to prevent the spread of the disease and help to protect more susceptible members of the population.
There is certainly evidence to suggest that ingredients in the flu shot are safe. The fact that the effectiveness of vaccine vary from season to season and seeing that the strains in this year’s vaccine seem likely to match, getting a flu shot in 2015 could very well be beneficial. However, I stand in the middle on this issue because there are certain factors that largely depend on the individual. There is a lack of evidence for flu shot protection in older children as well as adults aged 65 or older. In addition, the potential side effects that are supposed to be minor may not be the case for everyone. In the end, no protection is guaranteed.