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Flu vaccinations in your interest and the public's
Flu season is approaching again and the annual drumbeat to be vaccinated against it is under way.
Each year health authorities urge people to get the preventative shot, not only because it reduces the chance you will get a very unpleasant sickness but because it helps protect you — and just as importantly, others — from experiencing potentially deadly complications.
Yet each year people decline to get vaccinated for various reasons. Only about 42 percent of Americans got vaccinated for the flu last year, according to health authorities. Surprising, those who didn't included about 15 percent of doctors, a quarter of nurses and 50 percent of nursing home workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Those are people who should know better because they are more likely to be exposed to flu and to potentially infect others.
One reason people reject the shots is they simply don't like getting any injections. Usually it isn't really that painful, but there is no denying you may experience some minor discomfort. However, shots and needles are a phobia for some folks, so you are unlikely to convince them.
It may also be inconvenient to make an appointment or go to a clinic to get vaccinated, although it is becoming easier to find them being given in stores and other places. Some workplaces also provide opportunities since they want to keep their workers healthy.
One major detriment may be the cost. It can be expensive if you don't have insurance, although the health department provides subsidized vaccinations for those who have a hard time paying for them. Some health authorities urge free public programs. After all, it is in the public interest to make sure people can get them.
Other people don't think the vaccinations work or that they actually give you the flu, both untrue, although some individuals may feel “funky” for a little while. It is an acceptable tradeoff to avoid become seriously ill.
To those involved, these may all seem to be valid reasons, but the reality is getting the flu is not a casual matter. Thousands die each year from the disease and it can reach tens of thousands deaths or even more in a bad year.