Local media, schools, and healthcare professionals can always be seen urging people to stay up to date with their vaccinations. More specifically, every Fall, a new influenza vaccine, more commonly known as the flu shot, is made, which promises to benefit those who decide to get vaccinated. So, every year around November and December, people have the option of receiving this vaccine. However, for people like myself, getting vaccinated is not an option, but rather a requirement for my work setting.
When it comes to the flu shot, the questions I see myself asking are: Will this vaccination actually protect me? Will I get sick from it, or react negatively to it? Often times, the second question is the one I worry the most about because flu season usually starts around the time I begin thinking about final examinations.
Well, recently there has been a series of articles being published about the 2014-2015 influenza vaccine and how it hasn’t been able to protect against the influenza virus. The vaccine for this year’s cycle was manufactured with a strain of H3N2 virus. However, the strain that has been causing the many influenza cases around the country is actually a mutated version of this virus, which the vaccine doesn’t offer protection against. According to laboratory tests, there are a large number of vaccinated individuals who have contracted the illness. So, essentially, this vaccination provides both vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated individuals with no protection. To add to this, oddly enough, it has been found by Dr. Dickinson from the University of Calgary that the vaccine actually increases your risk for catching the flu. This is summarized in a video in the above Global News article.
I have always been skeptical of flu shots, but these findings definitely puts the influenza vaccine in a grey zone for me. And, I actually believe it should not be a requirement at all for any work setting, let alone mine. In an article published in Life in Quebec, one of the researchers, Dr. Skowronski, discusses her results from her tests. Though her findings are different from what Dr Dickinson found, and what the global news video showed, the consensus is that this vaccine is not working. Because of this, in her interview Dr. Skowronski believes that the influenza immunization program should rethink their message. And, instead of telling everyone to get their vaccination every year, they should only release vaccines every couple of years. This is because she claims that whenever the dominant strain is the H3N2 strain, vaccinations are useless against protecting individuals from contracting the flu. So, there is no real point in getting vaccinated.
Personally I am in favor of Dr. Skowronski’s idea of rethinking the urgency of being vaccinated every year because, every year I worry as to whether or not I will get sick, if it’s even worth getting vaccinated, or whether there are any future unknown implications of getting the flu shot.
Staff Writer. Completely Ineffective Flu Vaccine. Accessed February 2 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.lifeinquebec.com/completely-ineffective-flu-vaccine-10333/