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Amanda Kanowitz

Why we immunize against the flu–save healthy children’s lives

flu 20shotIf you break your arm, go to an emergency department, you see that medicine has an effect. Your fracture is set (very painful), and then you have a cast (very itchy). You can observe, without much bias, that a physician and his medical knowledge has fixed you. And you can show everyone else your cast, get it signed, and tell everyone how brave you were!

On the other hand, vaccinations can seem like they really don’t do anything. We get vaccinated, and it keeps us healthy–but it’s really hard to see that it does anything. Basically, vaccines maintain your default standard of health (at least what you think is the standard), so showing off your post-vaccination bandage doesn’t have the same effect. The cause and effect is just not there.

But there are real stories of tragedies for adults and children who aren’t vaccinated.

For example, there is one vaccine that seems to be ignored or outright avoided, even by seemingly rational people who get vaccines for everything else–the flu vaccine. Many people seem to invent myths about this vaccine, or accept those myths more readily than they do for other vaccines, all of which are easily dismissed and debunked.

I don’t know what causes this one vaccine to be so easily rejected by so many people, but it could be that the central myth of the flu itself is that it isn’t dangerous. People really believe that no one gets hurt from the flu. Especially themselves. Read More »Why we immunize against the flu–save healthy children’s lives