The Renegade Rip

Flu shots: Con

Victoria Miller, Opinions Editor

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It’s that time of year again; flu season is upon us and we are once again bombarded with reminders to get our annual vaccination.

Everywhere we go, we have friends, family, corporations and organizations drilling the idea into us that getting a flu shot is a matter of life or death. Americans are scared out of their minds about getting the virus, while companies make billions of dollars manufacturing vaccinations.

So the flu vaccine agenda is heavily promoted. Americans like feeling in control and getting vaccinated makes them feel more in control. Unfortunately, getting sick is something we can’t control. It’s something that happens naturally and can happen regardless of the preventative steps taken to avoid its happening.

I believe flu shots are mostly a false security. That is one of the reasons why I don’t bother to get one. Flu shots offer false security because they are marketed as if the shot is a guarantee against getting the flu, even though they are more than likely ineffective.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that the 2014-2015 vaccine was only 19 percent effective. With those odds, the flu shot is definitely not a guarantee against getting the virus.

Every year it is decided by scientists what strains are the most harmful and likely to affect large numbers of people. These are the strains that are put into vaccines, which your immune system will build up immunity to. However, there are so many strains of the flu that your body is still vulnerable to. The vaccine would be completely useless in a situation where you caught one of those other viruses, instead of the few that your body had built up immunity to.

Another reason why I won’t get a flu shot is because of the possible negative reactions.

Although you can’t actually get the flu from the flu shot (the virus that is in the vaccine is dead) you can still get flu-like symptoms, and there are definitely other potential risks. People have had allergic reactions to flu vaccines and have suffered dangerous side effects.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, there’s a chance of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after receiving a flu vaccination. This is a particularly disturbing disorder, where the immune system damages their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and possible paralysis. This disorder can be fatal.

In some flu shots, there is a preservative called Thimerosal, which contains mercury. Mercury is toxic to the human body. I’d like to avoid injecting myself with toxins.

So getting the flu shot is actually pretty risky.

I’ve gotten the flu plenty of times. It is pretty terrible. But getting the occasional virus is a natural occurrence and builds up your immune system toward that virus.

There are plenty of other ways to prevent getting a flu virus. Wash your hands, avoid sick people, and practice behaviors that promote a healthy immune system.

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Flu shots: Con