Skepticism

Phase One of Government Mind Control Complete!

Just a quick message to let you know that I just came back from receiving influenza vaccine number one. That’s right folks, I braved the oh-so-scary pointy needle with the evil thimerosol and chicken egg concoction. Oh, and let us not forget mind control device that the government implants in every shot! I’m absolutely sure that microchip was in the flu shot this year because I suddenly adore President Obama now more than ever and I am passive and ready to do whatever big-pharma, the government conspirators or the aliens tell me to… or maybe it’s just the autism kicking in?Immune painting by Amy Davis Roth

But seriously my friends, I feel great. No side effects for me (my arm isn’t even sore) and I am seriously proud for doing my part for herd immunity. It is really up to us as intelligent and informed members of society to take a hit for the team and to go get vaccinated so that debilitating and deadly diseases and viruses such as the flu aren’t spread. There are many people who have been convinced by the anti-vax movement that flu shots and other vaccines are dangerous and should be avoided. We need to show that isn’t true and we need to stop the spread of illness.

The vaccine I got today was for the regular flu. I will be back as soon as the H1N1 vaccine is available. I recommend you do the same. Come on! All the cool kids are doing it!

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics. She is the fearless leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+. Tip Jar is here.

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90 Comments

  1. It is really up to us as intelligent and informed members of society to take a hit for the team and to go get vaccinated so that debilitating and deadly diseases and viruses such as the flu aren’t spread.

    I don’t see how it’s taking a hit for the team. I got a flu shot, so that I don’t get the flu, and so that I don’t pass it on to my family (is that the team you mean?).

    My nurse this year was great, I hardly felt a thing. Although, I did get soreness for about two days. Much better than the flu. I will echo your recommendation that everyone should get the shot. I will get the H1N1 shot once it’s available.

    I am a Hedge

  2. @Amy:

    I’ll see if I can avoid the communication trap I fall into so many times.

    I agree with your position that people should get vaccinated. I think the benefits to the individual being vaccinated should be presented as the primary means of persuasion. I don’t think vaccination should be presented as a sacrifice one makes for the good of the community. You get vaccinated for your own good. I think that is a more compelling argument for most people, especially for those who may also be hearing the conspiracy-laced anti-vaccine arguments linking vaccines with some kind of socialist agenda where the good of the community is placed above the good of the individual.

    I apologize if my earlier comment came across as harsh (I don’t know if it did, but reading it again it seems possible).

    I am a Hedge

  3. The painting is awesome.

    I, however, do not get flu shots. Last time my mother tried to make me get a flu shot (I think it was at the grocery store) I kicked the nurse and ran away. SERIOUS phobia of needles. Can deal with it for standard immunizations but flu shots hurt like hell and i never get the flu anyway.

  4. @Shiyiya:
    I clearly have no fear of needles (lots of tattoos) and the lady who gave me my flu shot was so quick I seriously didn’t even notice it. I felt her grab my arm but never felt the shot at all. Maybe you could just close your eyes? :)

  5. I was just about to castigate you for not crediting the artist, but it turns out you were just being humble. Please illustrate all your posts with paintings from now on.

    And I get vaccinated against seasonal flu every year, doctor’s orders. She hasn’t said anything about H1N1, and I’m not sure if I should double up.

  6. What is it that triggers “Your comment is awaiting moderation.“?
    I’ve only had this a few times, and I can’t figure out the pattern. I’m curious, mostly so I can avoid whatever it is (assuming it’s reasonable to avoid).

    I am a Hedge

  7. @Amy: I can’t deal with them in the same room. Or in pictures. At age SIXTEEN I ran away from the nurse in the doctor’s office and locked myself in the bathroom because they wanted to give me a shot.

    (my most recent visit I barely survived a scheduled tetanus booster by not knowing about it beforehand, screwing my eyes up, and nearly biting through the skin on my wrist. Not going through it for something painful and elective that I don’t seem to actually need >_<)

    My mum figures my needle phobia stems from a traumatic blood draw when I was five during which someone had to sit on me and my entire arm ended up bruised.

    (also there should clearly be a link to an uncensored version of the painting. Just saying.)

  8. @Howard:
    First of all, thank you. I really do love to paint and I love that I have a forum to show my work here on Skepchick. :)

    As for the H1N1 and the flu shot, I actually asked the pharmacist who gave me the shot and she said that it was fine to get both vaccines at the same time. The only side effect would most likely be a doubly sore arm. H1N1 is not yet available in America for a few more weeks so I decided to get one out of the way now.

  9. @Im a Hedge: And now to respond to that comment; In cases of transmittable illness such as the flu, one should remember that there are many immune compromised people who can NOT get a particular vaccine. Perhaps they are too young or too sick and these are the people that we are protecting when we keep up herd immunity. That is why we need to get flu shots and other vaccines to help out those who can’t help themselves. That is not socialism it’s science.

  10. I already got my flu shot too! As a currently pregnant woman I’m first in line to get the H1N1 too. If my Dr. has it in I’ll be getting it Thursday when I have my check up.

    My husband works at our local hospital and has had a free flu shot every year he’s been there. This year the flu shot is mandatory for all staff. I was really surprised at the uproar from a lot of the nurses. They think that since they haven’t ever gotten sick from the flu they shouldn’t take the risk of getting the shot. I tried to make the point to a few of them that the shot isn’t for them. It’s not about protecting you it’s about protecting those who can’t fight off the flu. People they are caring for everyday. They could be carrying the flu and not feel very sick but every elderly patient that comes in for treatment could die from it. You would think that nurses would understand that and wouldn’t need an artist to tell them how it is….

  11. @Amy:
    Right, herd immunity protects people who cannot get the vaccine, or for whom the vaccine is not effective. My point is that this is best presented as a secondary motivation for getting vaccinated. The primary motivation being to protect oneself.

    Getting the vaccine is not, and should not be portrayed as, sacrificing for the good of the community. There is no personal sacrifice involved.

    For extra clarification, I am not confusing science with socialism. I have heard anti-vaccine folks do this, and I don’t want to play into their hands. I am thinking about the impression being made on the majority of people, who don’t pay close attention to the issue, and don’t really know the arguments on either side. They need to decide if they should get themselves, and maybe their kids, vaccinated. If they have heard anti-vax claims that vaccination is part of a socialist agenda (some of them really claim this), then they hear vaccine proponents calling for personal sacrifice for the benefit of the community (which sounds suspiciously like socialism to a lot of people, who aren’t really up to speed on their political science), then they are less likely to choose vaccination.

    And thanks for clearing up the moderation thing. My comments may not always be popular, but I always fully intend to follow the rules of the forum.

    I am a Hedge

  12. My employers must be in on the conspiracy. They are going to give me the vacination for free. My wife’s must be in on it too. They will give it to her for free and they only charge $5.00 for my kids. Where will it all end? The partners in my firm are both republicans. How were they taken over. They’re already here. Don’t go to sleep. They will get you too. They will get all of us.

  13. I work at a hospital, and we are required to get both a seasonal flu shot and an H1N1 shot (when it’s out). One side benefit of this requirement is that they’ll give it to us free, and since I was planning to get them anyway, that’s money in my pocket. However, some of my colleagues seem to be antivax (or at least anti flu vax—don’t worry, I work in the file room, not with doctors and nurses), so they’re grumbling about their rights being infringed on. Haven’t heard about socialism yet, but give it time.

  14. I’ve never received a flu shot before, but decided to get one on Friday when I saw they were available at the pharmacy near my office. I’m good and healthy, but it is such a pain (professionally and recreationally) when I do get sick during the winter.

    It went really well, just a little poke (I don’t watch), no soreness, and no malaise.

  15. A free flu shot is basically the only perk I get at my job, and I take it every year. I don’t know if we’ll be getting the H1N1 vaccine this year though (even though we’re in a hotspot for H1N1) since we’re out of flu season now.

  16. I shall be getting a free flu shot from my evil socialised medicine doctor as soon as possible. I’m in a high risk group, so my doctor shouts at me if I don’t get it. I’ll get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it’s available too.

  17. Appealing to the interests of the individual may be more effective at getting people to actually go in to get a flu shot, but I think “doing it for the herd” is a more intellectual reason to get vaccinated against anything.

    And I think that the main reasons most of us don’t get flu when we skip the shot is because most of our daily contacts DO get vaccinated and protect us. If we as healthy people not at high risk for severe illness, expect to reap those benefits from our peers with illnesses like influenza, then we at least owe the immunocompromised populations around us that protection from more fatal illnesses like measles, hepatitis B, etc., if not for influenza, which could kill 30-90 thousand people this year in the U.S.

    And both seasonal and H1N1 vaccines will be available in a “nasal mist” form, which is inhaled, not injected. Injection vaccines are being manufactured by multiple companies, and some will contain Thimerosal and some will not. While there are no large epidemiological studies that establish an association between Thimerosal in vaccines and autism/other adverse health outcomes, you will be able to request a Thimerosal-free vaccine from your doctor if you wish. You may need to wait a few extra weeks for it, which would be ridiculous, since there is no evidence to support any anti-vax hype about Thimerosal.

    CDC on Thimerosal: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/thimerosal_qa.htm

    CDC on H1N1 vax: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm

  18. We’re still waiting for the vaccine to arrive in our area. We’re being told to expect it by mid-October. Otherwise, I’m there with you all. I’ve never had a flu shot that was worse than the flu. I may have some residual immunity due to my age, but I’m not banking on it.

    Cool painting, BTW. Wish I had some artistic talent. Mine seems to be writing, not images. My art teachers despaired of teaching me art design sense. I don’t seem to have any.

  19. I got my shot yesterday after work.

    No pain at all during the shot. A little sore today.

    I will try and get the swine flu vaccination when it becomes available.

    I have friends that can not get shots so I figure it is a good idea to help with the herd immunity.

    I do have one problem. My Mom has bought into the anti-vax propaganda. I do not know how to convince her that since she buys into the whole big pharma conspiracy thing and she has a nurse friend telling her that the shots will give her Alzheimer.

    She is into a lot of woo so I have to pick my battles but this one is much more dangerous.

    I have tried to convince her to listen to me about it but she will not.

    Any advice from people with similar problems would be appreciated.

  20. Woohoo for flu shots! I just got mine yesterday, too. Since I work around immuno-suppressed people and have some relatives who have lowered immune reactions, I definitely see it as my duty to protect them. And selfishly, I had the flu once and never again do I want to go through that hell.

    @Shiyiya: Can you get them to give you valium or something similar? I’m fine with shots but I have an extreme phobia of having blood drawn, IVs, etc. So I get a prescription for a couple vallium pills before I have to have any procedure like that done.

    Really, I think all doctor’s offices should come equipped with laughing gas. One breath of that stuff and hey, getting a shot is nothing.

  21. @Shiyiya: I hear ya, I get really freaked out every time I need a shot. My anxiety really kicks in.
    I use “square breathing” to help. Breath in, hold, breath out, hold. Helps reduce the super-oxygenation that happens when that fight or flight kicks in (I’ve responded both ways BTW).

    @Amanda: That’s a great idea, I’m going to ask my doctor about that. I’m irrationally terrified of the darned things even though I have little fear and high tolerance of pain. I just feel they are so wrong but I understand that they are so right.

    At least I’ll never be a junkie. :)

  22. They’ve started giving them at my work (like many others, I work in a hospital and get them free every year). However, when I called my daughter’s pediatrician to get her’s done, they won’t be administering any flu shots until Nov. The nurse explained that they are trying to cover more of the flu season. Usually what happens is they give out most of the shots early, then end up seeing many of the same kids come back in Feb with the flu.

    So I’ll be getting my and my daughter’s shot in another month or so.

  23. @Shiyiya:

    , however, do not get flu shots. Last time my mother tried to make me get a flu shot (I think it was at the grocery store) I kicked the nurse and ran away. SERIOUS phobia of needles.

    I’m not sure if they’re doing it everywhere, but I got the intra-nasal spray form of the vaccine this year at my university. It was the quickest, and painless vaccination I’ve ever received. I never saw a needle once.

    @Im a Hedge:
    The problem I have with your argument is that if people do not understand their ability to get a mild cold and have it kill children, the elderly, or the otherwise sick, then they’ll say, “I rarely get the flu and it’s generally pretty mild” and not get it.

    Not being able to spread the flu to your kids or your grandparents is a CRUCIAL part of why anyone should get the vaccine.

  24. @Jessika:
    Usually what happens is they give out most of the shots early, then end up seeing many of the same kids come back in Feb with the flu.

    In that case, if I understand it correctly, getting the shot later isn’t going to prevent kids from falling sick. It’s not like the shot you got has lost its effectiveness. It’s that the flu has mutated into a form that’s sufficiently different from the strain the vaccine immunized against that it’s no longer effective. Immunizing later with that same vaccine will therefore still be useless.
    What might happen is that the vaccine gets updated with DNA from the new season’s flu-virus. But by then your kid might have already caught it anyway.

  25. @exarch:
    The reason vaccinated kids get sick with the flu several months later is because herd immunity is not attained. People still gets sick, the virus still moves through the population, it has time to mutate between every host, and by the time it gets back to your kid, it’s able to make them sick.

    With proper herd immunity, the flu never even gets a foothold because EVERYONE is immune, except for those few unlucky ones who can’t get vaccinated.

  26. @sporefrog:

    Not being able to spread the flu to your kids or your grandparents is a CRUCIAL part of why anyone should get the vaccine.

    I agree.

    Would you agree that it is not a personal sacrifice to get vaccinated; that there is a primary benefit to the individual that clearly outweighs the risks? If so, then we aren’t suggesting anyone ‘take one for the team’. Getting vaccinated is not some great noble thing to do.

    A related, but slightly different, issue is the term ‘herd immunity’. It is the proper term, but I think the implication it has for most people is not very positive. People don’t think of their friends, families, and coworkers as a herd. Maybe they think of the crowd at Wal-Mart as a herd, but not their kids or their grandma. You may convince people by appealing to their concern for those they care about, but most people aren’t all that concerned about the ‘herd’. At least they are not concerned enough to expose themselves to any substantial risk for the sake of the herd.

    I find it helpful (although frustrating) to listen to what the ‘other side’ says, in order to have a better idea of how to deal with the issue. There are people promoting the idea that vaccines are part of a larger program to control the population (as indicated by Amy’s title for this post). Speaking of the human population as a herd plays right into their hands. “Look, even the people trying to convince you to get the shot think of you as a herd of animals.” This lets them segue into eugenics fears (‘culling the herd’). There really are people who say this stuff, and these ideas can eventually percolate into the general awareness of ‘normal people’.

    I propose a message like this:

    You should get vaccinated because it greatly reduces your risk of getting a disease that kills tens of thousands of people a year. It will also stop you from carrying the illness and infecting your friends or your family members. This is especially important if you come into contact with infants or with elderly individuals, who are much more likely to die if they get the disease.

    I am a Hedge

  27. I have never gotten one. Never felt the need. Never even really thought about it. I always figured it was for medical people, kids, people who work with kids… etc. Also, heard that you have a chance of getting sick right after getting the shot as it works its way through your system.

    I work in the tech industry, we had a case of H1N1 in our office building and they are providing flu shots (regular) for free at work.

    Really though, not sure why I should get one since I don’t ever get the flu. And… don’t they run out every year? Shouldn’t my shot be saved for someone more deserving?

    Am I being selfish?

  28. @Kaylia_Marie: My general thought tends to be ‘well they never seem to have enough there are people who need it more’, and besides with as little as I leave the house lately I’d not be contributing to herd immunity much :P

    And I’m selfish and don’t want a goddamn needle in my arm. Flu shots, when I used to get them, always made me feel like crap for at least a week.

  29. @Kaylia_Marie:

    The first consideration is, are you comfortable with your personal risk of getting the flu? It sounds like you are. The second consideration is, do you come into contact with people who are especially at risk if they do get the flu? If you do, then you may want to get the shot to reduce the risk of spreading it on tho them. If you don’t hang out with babies and old folks, then that may not be a concern for you.

    After that, I think it’s reasonable to take the total supply of vaccine into account. I don’t know what the supplies are expected to be this year, so I don’t know if you would be using a dose that would then be unavailable to someone who needs it more. If there’s expected to be an ample supply, then you could justify getting the shot for very little reduction in risk for yourself, as the cost side of the equation is very low.

    Am I being selfish?

    Of course you are. What else would you be?

    I am a Hedge

  30. I don’t think there’s any danger of running out of regular flu vaccine this year, that I’ve heard. It’s the H1N1 that will be in limited supply…

    Everyone has to make their own decision (hopefully, with medical guidance and not celebrity “advice”) as to whether the flu shot is right for them.
    I never got one until a few years ago when my mother was going through chemo and her doctors recommended it for everyone close to her. I did not get the flu that year (though I HAD gotten it the year before and it totally kicked my ass), and I’ve gotten the shot every year since.

    I get the flu shot for myself, and for my mother, and for my sister-in-law’s kids, and for my grandmother. But that’s just me.

  31. Yay for getting the seasonal flu shot!

    But, did you know that at this time there is a shortage of the H1N1 vaccine, and so it is only recommended for those 24 years old or younger, pregnant woman, health care workers, people who care for young children and others who have health conditions that would put them in a high risk category.

    If you don’t fall in one of those categories, please wait to see if there’s enough serum for you, so those at high risk can have first crack at it.

    http://flu.gov/

  32. There is plenty of seasonal flu shots and yes, certain high risk people will have access to H1N1 first but due to the fact that they will not have to give two doses of H1N1 like previously thought there will be a lot more to go around. If you go out into public and don’t have a health issue which puts you at risk, you should seriously consider getting flu shots every year.

    I guess I need to say this for those who don’t know it: The flu shot can not give you the flu. You are injected with an inactivated virus. In other words it’s dead. The whole point of the shot is so your immune system can recognize the virus and be fully prepared to kill it if it sees it again.

    The nasal spray is a weakened version of the virus… but flu shot is inactivated.

    If you have any friends or family or you plan on going to the grocery store or dropping your kids off at school or plan on having a life at all this winter and you are capable please get the flu shots.

  33. Ok, so this might make me very unpopular…. But…
    I don’t think I will get the shot, even though it is free through work.
    Reasons: I don’t hang with kids, old people, or the sick.
    Secondly, I am healthy enough that I don’t get sick all that often.
    Thirdly, when I do get sick… I get better. It might be annoying and uncomfy, but getting a bit sick in the winter just seems like part of normal life. You get a cold. You get over it. You don’t freak out and take antibiotics, you just hunker down and eventually get better.

    Since the flu mutates every year, (thus we are offered new vaccines every year) doesn’t it make sense to let our bodies make antibodies (if they are able*)? My body seems to be doing a good enough job of keeping me going… and if I do happen to get THE FLU!!!!, well there you go. I got it. Now my body can make antibodies and I will get better.

    *obviously not everyone’s can… I am not advocating that the old, the pregnant, the young, the sick whatever avoid the shot…….

  34. The purpose of the vaccine is to trigger your body to create antibodies specific to the thing against which you are being vaccinated. So if you happen to get exposed to the actual virus, you already have the antibodies ready to fight it off. Without the vaccine you have to wait the several days for the antibodies to be selected and produced in sufficient numbers to help you get rid of the virus.

    It’s fine to not get the vaccine, but you should decide based on an accurate understanding of what the vaccine does.

    Also, because the virus is different every year, antibodies from this year do nothing to help you next year, regardless of whether those antibodies resulted from vaccination or infection.

    I am a Hedge

  35. @Kaylia_Marie:
    So say you get the flu. No big deal to you.Out of the 10 days or so that you are contagious (some days you don’t even realize it) you happen to go to work and you spread the flu to a coworker who has an elderly mother or newborn baby or son with an immune deficiency. You get better. Your coworker’s family member dies. That is why it is important for as many people to get immunized, not to simply avoid what may be a minor inconvenience to you.

  36. @Amy: Well, shouldn’t my coworker with the elderly family member or baby have gotten the shot? Shouldn’t the family member in question?

    I am all for vaccines when they are things you get as a kid (or an adult) that work… but this particular thing (the Flu) keeps adapting and mutating… because we keep fighting it with different strains of the vaccine? I don’t know. It just doesn’t make sense to keep vaccinating every person every year. Aren’t we just setting ourselves up for more problems down the line?

  37. @Kaylia_Marie: Yes, of course the friend or family member should get the shot but not everyone can and unfortunately just like you are describing even some who can, refuse.

    If herd immunity is not kept above a certain percentage then many more people die. As it is now approximately 36,000 people die every year from the regular flu.

    It makes perfect sense to vaccinate every year exactly because of what you said. The virus mutates. There are different strains of flu. To say that the flu shot doesn’t work is an inaccurate statement. It works each year to protect you from a different flu bug.

  38. @Kaylia_Marie: You know, I used to have a similar stance to yours. I was always very healthy and never seemed to catch the “bugs” that were going around.

    Then I got the flu. I would say I was at one of my most physically fit stages when I got sick. I was eating well, exercising lots, sleeping plenty, and hadn’t been sick in a long time. The flu knocked me on my ass. Even breathing hurt. I could not have taken care of myself because even getting up to microwave some soup or open a cup of Jello was exhausting. If it hadn’t been for the care of my boyfriend, I’m sure I would’ve ended up so dehydrated that I would’ve had to go to the hospital. The initial oh-god-kill-me-now-please phase was about a week and it took me several weeks after that before I was feeling completely well again.

    I would feel awful if I passed on something that made me, a healthy young adult, feel like that to someone whose body isn’t as strong. And that time, I probably did because I was a moron and went to classes for 2 days while in strong denial that I had the flu.

  39. Amy, I never said it doesn’t work. I’m just not convinced that it is necessary for everyone to get it. I don’t have a problem with needles or a hatred for my fellow humans, I just need to be sure that getting it done makes the most sense. Again, not trying to be evil or selfish (overly so) just trying to figure it out. I have never gotten the shot in the past… I wasn’t planning on getting it this year… and as I wonder if that is the best decision I am looking for information. Obviously you think I should… it seems like you think everyone should. I just wonder if tht really makes sense.

    Hedge: Not sure, I am not super smart when it comes to this (or other things) but I remember in college talking about pesticides and how every season we make new pesticides to kill the bugs and eventually the bugs mutate so they can live despite the pesticides… so we make even stronger pesticides…. And it keeps going. What do we get with super doper strong pesticides? Super Dooper Bugs! I know I am committing a logical fallacy here but somehow this seems to mirror our love affair with antibiotics and vaccines to a certain extent. (To a certain extent.)

  40. @Kaylia_Marie: Forgive me if I sound pushy, but I do think that if you are healthy then yes, you should get the flu shot to keep up herd immunity. The benefits outweigh the risks for a healthy individual. There is so much inaccurate negative press on vaccines that I may come off as militant when I am trying to get my point across simply because I feel like I am constantly repeating myself and for that I apologize.

  41. @Kaylia_Marie:

    I don’t think vaccines cause the same problem as improper use of anti-biotics and pesticides. The problems with those is that they kill most, but not all of the target organisms. So they place a selective pressure on the population whereby only the individual organisms best able to resist the effects survive and reproduce. So subsequent generations of the bugs are enriched for those that are more resistant. Since a vaccine just stimulates the immune system to do what it will do anyway in case of infection, I don’t think the same process is going on.

    It’s not that vaccine that kills the virus, it’s your immune system. You may be shedding viral particles while infected, which is what infects other people. If you are vaccinated, your immune system is able to rapidly respond and clear the virus. If you aren’t vaccinated, then your body has to begin producing antibodies. It’s possible that during the antibody ramp-up phase, there is some selective pressure that results in the ‘strongest’ viruses contributing more to the shed particles. If that were happening, I would expect infections later in the season to be more difficult to control, and I’m not aware that this is the case.

    I’m not aware of any concerns that improper use of vaccines can put selective pressures on things like influenza. I would be interested if anyone else knows anything about this.

    The core problem is that pigs and birds are raised in close proximity, allowing the viruses to co-infect and swap genes. So if you stop purchasing pork and poultry products you may have a greater impact than if you avoid getting vaccinated.(Although most of this recombination probably happens in Asia, so your purchasing behaviors are not likely to have much effect.)

    I am a Hedge

  42. Ok, because I am learning… pardon me if this sounds stupid.

    Without the vaccine: if exposed my body’s antibodies ramp up to keep me healthy. While they are ramping up, I could infect someone else… even if my body does a good enough job to keep me from getting sick. (?)
    With the vaccine: if exposed, my body’s antibodies are already ramped and thus keeps me healthy and also keeps me from infecting others. (?)

    Can you be a carrier even if you don’t get sick? How would they test this?

  43. @Kaylia_Marie:

    Without the vaccine: if exposed my body’s antibodies ramp up to keep me healthy. While they are ramping up, I could infect someone else… even if my body does a good enough job to keep me from getting sick. (?)
    With the vaccine: if exposed, my body’s antibodies are already ramped and thus keeps me healthy and also keeps me from infecting others. (?)

    That’s speculation on my part. I don’t know that it works that way, but I can imagine a mechanism by which it would work that way. I mentioned that one prediction, if this is true, would be that infections later in the season would be either more severe, or would last longer. I don’t know if this is what actually happens. Don’t read too much into this, as it is, again, just speculation.

    Can you be a carrier even if you don’t get sick? How would they test this?

    I’m not certain with influenza, but this can happen with some pathogens (see Typhoid Mary for a famous example). At any rate, you can spread influenza between the time you become infected and the time you begin to have symptoms. I think it’s a couple days. I’m sure there’s good summaries of this information (much more accurate and reliable than what you will get from my memory) available at cdc, or even wikipedia.

    I am a Hedge

  44. @Kaylia_Marie: “Can you be a carrier even if you don’t get sick?”

    Looks like the answer is no.

    Coworker just pointed out to me that even though I don’t deal with old people or kids, I ride the PT system along with a lot of dirty icky people and thus my office would appreciate it if I were to get the shot.

  45. One thing that has not been mentioned is a small percentage of people that do vaccinate don’t get the benefits of it. They have gone to the trouble of protecting themselves but that protection doesn’t work. (with all drugs there are small groups that interact differently)

    When everyone vaccinates this is not an issue because that number is smaller than the percentage required for herd immunity.

    Also to answer an earlier question vaccinations prevent virus mutation because they prevent viruses propagation. Mutation doesn’t occur in virus’s but rather occurs between generations of virus’s. if we cut off their ability to propagate they cannot mutate.

    The question is not why should we vaccinate but rather why should we not. I hate needles, literally faint when I get them, but I consider it irresponsible of me to put my comfort above the health of the community.

    I have yet to hear an argument to not vaccinate that doesn’t involve compromised immune systems or other medical conditions that prohibit vaccination.

    and those people need us to help them not get sick.

  46. @PrimevilKneivel:

    I have yet to hear an argument to not vaccinate that doesn’t involve compromised immune systems or other medical conditions that prohibit vaccination.

    Mind control, man. You must pay closer attention.

    Also, something about autism. I heard today that they also make you sterile. It’s part of the world wide eugenics plan.

    I am a Hedge

  47. @Shiyiya: I didn’t check the whole thread to see if anyone already mentioned this, but there is a nasal spray version of the flu “shot” that is available for healthy people age 2-49. You could ask your doctor about getting that instead if it’s available in your area.

  48. Just a follow up.

    After doing some research, listening to y’all and talking with a few other smarty pants sorts, I have decided that getting the flu shot will be something I will do.

    Provided I can find assurance that supplies are not limited and thus I won’t be taking it away from a person in the “highly recommended” category.

    The boyfriend and I will try to find a place in the next few weeks… we hear Walgreens offers ‘em for around 25 bucks.

    Thank you to everyone for the info.

  49. Whenever I get a vaccine, after the injection I like to ask, with a very serious expression,
    “Now, how long will it be until I start to feel the autism?”

    I get good looks. They usually chuckle a bit after I crack a smile.

    I am a Hedge

  50. @Kaylia_Marie: I would recommend just calling your doctor or local pharmacy and ask them flat out, is there any shortage with the regular flu vaccine? They gave me one, and there was no question of high risk qualifiers. They are giving them to everyone who wants one (who can get one), there are no shortages. There were flu shot shortages a few years ago when (I believe) they had to change the strain of the flu they were addressing, mid-production. But there wasn’t a shortage last year, in America, and there isn’t this year. It’s the H1N1 vaccine that will be in limited supply.

    Hooray! Go get shot! Be a commie stooge just like me!!

  51. @Kaylia_Marie: Hooray! Good for you! Hearing you say that is what makes all this blogging and skepticism so worth it. I’m so glad we could help with the learning process. Thank you for letting us know your plans. Hooray!

    btw… I have also not heard of any shortage with this years seasonal flu vaccine. :)

  52. For some reason, my doctor won’t even know until mid-October if, how much, or when he gets the regular season flu shots in (never mind the H1N1 batches). I don’t understand that at all. And he’s on vacation right now so I cannot ask him.

  53. @Amy:
    10%? Any maximum? That’s a total deal. I can buy a lot of groceries at one time. I just added shelves to my pantry, and they are serious wood, not this weak sawdust-and-glue thing. I’m going to see if I can find that deal and I just won’t tell them I already got a shot. Wait, even better, I can send my lovely assistant to get a shot.

    I am a Hedge

  54. Okay, the whole shelves-in-the-pantry thing isn’t a complete non sequitur*, as it may seem to be. I mean, I have room to store a lot of food and stuff. And the shelves are strong, so they can hold lots of things like canned goods that you can stock up on if you have some awesome deal like 10% off.

    (*note for Skepchick techie staff: your editor widget thinks ‘sequitur’ is not a word. Although, it also thinks ‘Skepchick’ is not a word, so you may not have control over the dictionary it is using.)

    I am a Hedge

  55. @Im a Hedge:
    note for Skepchick techie staff: your editor widget thinks ’sequitur’ is not a word. Although, it also thinks ‘Skepchick’ is not a word, so you may not have control over the dictionary it is using.

    I think that would be YOUR editor widget Hedge, built into your own browser.

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