The Importance of Vaccines and Flu Shots

Since we are in the middle of flu season, I thought it would be important to discuss the importance of vaccines and flu shots. It is incredibly concerning to me to see Facebook posts and social media articles saying that vaccines and flu shots are harmful and ineffective, because that is not true. I am by no means an expert, but by doing my own research I have come to these conclusions.

Countless studies have shown that vaccines and flu shots are effective and help an incredibly large number of people. Through the use of vaccines, diseases like polio and measles have been almost completely eradicated. Unfortunately, the rise of the anti-vax movement has resulted in the re-emergence of measles and other diseases in the United States.

When a large group of people all get their flu shots and vaccines, herd immunity is developed. This means that the small amount of people who physically cannot get the vaccine (people who are allergic, babies, elderly, and immune-compromised) are protected because everyone around them is fighting off the bacteria or virus that causes the disease. Since more people have been choosing to not get vaccinated, herd immunity is starting to crumble and people that rely on herd immunity are getting sick.

Also, there is no evidence that vaccinations cause other disorders. The Wakefield study was retracted when scientists found out that he cherry-picked his data, which is not ethical. Countless medical professionals and doctors have said that vaccines and flu shots are safe for the general public, as opposed to a few dissenting viewpoints that have not proved that vaccines are harmful.

Quite frankly, the controversy over vaccines and flu shots should not be as prevalent today as it is. They are vital for protecting us and the people around us from diseases that have debilitated this country in the past, like polio and measles. While they might not always be perfect, vaccines go through strict regulations and testing before doctors can use them on a regular basis. This means that adverse reactions are rare. Also, vaccines can be modified when new information or evidence is found that supports something that the vaccine does not currently have. For example, booster shots were developed once people realized that certain illnesses would come back after a vaccine had been administered. Vaccines and flu shots are imperative for maintaining a healthy community and staying healthy yourself.