I’ve been terribly tardy in getting my flu shot this year, but I finally did it today. (Turns out there’s a bit of a run on for vaccinations in DC; my original appointment was cancelled because the pharmacy ran out, and I had to phone six CVSes before I found anyone with supplies).
Vaccination is awesome for you, since the flu sucks, but it’s also a public service. The vaccine is 62% effective (which means people who get the vaccination are 62% less likely than those who don’t to have such a bad case of flu that they go to a hospital or a doctor’s office). So you’re a long shot from guaranteed safe if you’re the only one that gets the shot. That’s where the herd effect comes in. The fewer people who are susceptible, the harder it is for the disease to spread. But flu vaccination rates are lagging.
The more of us who get vaccinated, the safer the world becomes for the very old, the very young, and the immunocompromised (cancer meds, AIDS, etc), who may not be able to be vaccinated, and who are at much higher risk if they do get sick. If you go out and get your shot, next time you see an adorable baby in the metro, you’ll be able to think proudly to yourself, “Fear not, tiny baby! Not only am I keeping your attention occupied by playing peekaboo with you, but I’ve done my part to make this public space safe for you by having dead viruses shot under my skin! All in a day’s work for your friendly neighborhood antibodies-maker!”
Oh, and after you go get your vaccination, and if you’re not so much into lollypops, I recommend the following history of epidemiology and/or medicine books: Microbe Hunters, The Ghost Map, The Demon in the Freezer, and The Emperor of All Maladies.