I never have the flu vaccine
I had it last year and I had the flu
It makes me ill
I hate needles…
These are some of the excuses people use when offered the flu vaccine.
It’s that time of year.
Why should you have the flu vaccine?
In the surgery we send invites to all our patients who are over 65 years of age, those who are pregnant or who have one of a fairly long-list of chronic health conditions – asthma, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and so on.
We ask our patients to attend (half the alphabet was yesterday, Saturday) and the other half is next week, as, there is much evidence to suggest that the more people are vaccinated the lower the change of them catching the flu.
Used syringe caps (each one is a person who has been jabbed in Maltby)
All this might seem quite obvious.
The problem with flu is you can never quite tell what it is up to; the vaccine we use is based upon the types of flu that were affecting people in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, Argentina, South Africa) this time last year, as a predictor of what will happen to us this winter.
It is a bit of a guessing game;
Mostly the scientists get it right – below is a chart that shows the effectiveness over different years.
‘It might not work for me’ – if you are one of the people who have the flu vaccine and you still get the flu, the truth is that you will more than likely have a milder illness than you would otherwise have had.
There are lots of reasons for this; if you imagine that your body might struggle to fight the flu in the first place, the vaccine will help support you, without it you are at the mercy of whatever might happen if the bugs invade.
Some people claim to get the flu from the flu vaccine.
This does not happen.
It can’t happen.
It is not the way it works.
I have seen people infected by the flu; I have even written ‘influenza’ on the death certificates of patients who have died. It is more likely another viral illness – that is not the flu that has affected you. Few of these are as bad as the flu.
I might be OK, what about my mum or dad or granny?
This is the part where having the flu is bad enough, but, once you have it you can pass it on to others.
This is the reason all health and care staff in the UK should have the vaccine.
How terrible would it be to pass the virus on to someone you are trying to support?
I don’t want to scare people into having the vaccine, for me it is common sense.
Employers can vaccinate their staff – they have to pay the £9 for the vaccine, and, I am sure they could find someone to volunteer to jab (jag) in the local community; why not? Schools (teachers), supermarkets, sport centres, petrol stations, factories…
And my final request?
Make this blog infectious! Share it with a friend… If you have missed your slot for the jab, you can still come along next week; if you are unwell with a virus or other illness now, we can still fit you in at a later date.
Saturday’s flu tower… Will it be higher next week?