Vaccines Have Been Proven To Be Our Best Shot At Survival

Graphic Courtesy of Liam Boris

Annika Tamte, Staff Writer

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Flu season is here, and, for most people, this means the annual flu shot. According to the CDC, during the 2016-2017 season, the flu vaccine prevented 5.3 million people from contracting influenza and reduced the chance of having to go to the doctor for the flu by 40%-60%. In 2017, 80,000 people died from a flu-related illness. However, if the flu vaccine is the best way to avoid getting the infamous influenza disease, why do only 60% of children and 40% of the adult population receive a flu shot?

Andrea Lopezmalo, ‘21, speculates that not everybody gets the flu shot because “some people have bad results” and “money issues”, whereas Sophia Miller, ‘20, believes the population does not always receive vaccines because they “are worried about major side effects.”

Other reasons for the lack of a flu shot is that people believe that their child will not get the flu because they are otherwise healthy; they do not have a high-risk condition, and they got vaccinated in previous years. Other reasons may be they don’t normally get the flu, or they say the vaccine was not prompted or recommended by their child’s physician.

Like many viruses, the flu strain changes each year. To combat this change, a new vaccine is created each year to work the most effectively, meaning last year’s flu shot won’t always work every year.

Other vaccinations are as prominent as the flu vaccine. Measles, a highly contagious disease that can even lead to death, is the top vaccine-preventable disease. Recently, there has been a outbreak of measles in Minnesota.

Gary Finnegan of Vaccines Today believes that “Despite concerns about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, the long-term trend shows more people are vaccinated than ever.”

Since the 1950s, certain vaccines have become mandatory: polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella vaccines have all become mandatory for entering kindergarten. These mandatory vaccines have helped to spur the rise of vaccines.

Overall, it is everyone’s personal freedom to receive vaccinations, but it is very important that every individual considers their impact on the global community. To find the closest locations to receive the flu shot, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/flu-finder-widget.html.

 

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