General Question

Rarebear's avatar

Can those of you who don't want to get a flu shot explain to me why you won't get one? (See details)

Asked by Rarebear (25144points) March 3rd, 2011

The patient is a 40 year old woman with two children, no significant past medical history. She came to the hospital in acute respiratory distress and rapidly needed intubation, which means put a tube down the throat and put on a ventilator. Usually when people are placed on the ventilator they improve, but she continued to deteriorate. Her chest x-ray, which normally has nice clear lung fields, was “whited out” meaning that her lungs were full of fluid, although one side was worse than the other. Her oxygen requirements continued to climb until finally I was at the complete maximum of 100% oxygen. Despite that her O2 saturation, which for any of you will be above 95%, was 55%, indicating, basically, that she was dying. I increased the pressures on the ventilator (for the medically minded—I had to turn up her PEEP to 22), which markedly increases the risk of pneumothorax, or popping the lung like a balloon. We also manipulated her ventilator such that she spent more time inspiring instead of expiring (again, for the medically minded inverse-ratio ventilation). Despite this her oxygen levels refused to improve. Multiple times we had to take her off the ventilator completely and manually bag her. Even with this, her saturations never got higher than the low 70s. I did the last thing I could, I medically paralyzed her. This didn’t work either. I had used up my bag of tricks, the patient was dying, and there was absolutely nothing I could do. Then, at the point of my maximal despair, our stat flu titres came back—positive for H1N1 influenza. (It was here I wrote my question from before).

When this came back I did the only thing I could, I asked everybody if they’d gotten their flu shot. We had been in and out of the room—most wearing masks, but some not, and there was an EKG technician who was there when I asked her, her eyes went wide and said in a small voice, “no.” I said, “Go. Now.” She went.

Eventually we got her a little more stabilized by turning her on the side that was less affected. That had the effect of shunting blood to the “good” lung and away from the “bad” lung. This was the first thing that actually seemed to work, and her saturations climbed to the low 80s. Still, I was convinced she would die.

But she didn’t and is still alive, barely. She has a tracheostomy, meaning that we surgically put a hole in her trachea so we can more easily ventilate. She also will probably need a gastrostomy—a tube in the stomach so she can be fed chronically.

She received steroids and paralytics, which will mean that she is at a high risk for developing a neuropathy—meaning that she will be weak and unable to walk for weeks or even months, if at all. If she lives, she will need intensive rehabilitation.

All of this could have been prevented by a simple flu shot at the drug store. My question to the collective who do not get vaccinated is why not? I’m truly curious.

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158 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s a rare case. I dislike when scare tactics are used to make a point.

I don’t get flu shots because I hate needles and I have a well-functioning immune system. Yes, I know others could get it from me, but I am not responsible for everybody.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

I am healthy, not in any category it is highly recommended for. As a stay at home mom, I have very little contact with the general population. I do not live in a high risk area or travel a lot. I also have a measure of distrust for the preventative pushes which are always being hyped one day and gone the next.

unique's avatar

because i’m not a child nor an elderly.

Ladymia69's avatar

You want to know why I will not get a flu shot? I will tell you. Because the ingredients of the vaccine are not exposed to the people who are receiving it. Because there really and truly is no certain evidence that getting a flu shot keeps you from getting the flu, or that inoculation truly is effective at all. Because I have seen several people who received the flu shot get sick, some severely, with…............wait for it….............THE FLU.

Ladymia69's avatar

H1N1 is so rare…did you ask this woman if she had even had a flu shot at any point recently? And I totally agree with @psychocandy about scare tactics being the worst way to convince anyone to get a vaccine.

Chreese's avatar

It just seems wrong to intentionally give yourself something bad for yourself, albeit in a small dosage. I’m not sure about h1n1 specifically but from my understanding, the flu shot is a guess at what the upcoming season’s flu will look like and is not always accurate. Why take the risk?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Rarebear : I honestly do appreciate your concern in this matter, but frankly the use of the worst case scenario here and a previously used grotesque scare shot in this other thread is IMO not the best way to convince intelligent adults to make the choices you think they should make.
Some undoubtedly choose not to have one for considered and educated reasons that don’t agree with your reasons to get one. I’m one that chooses not to, I won’t explain why here, because I don’t want to be the subject of the nasty stuff that went on over here.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m 70+ and don’t object to taking a flu shot. I’ve had mine this year. But I cannot remember ever having the flu. When there is a national shortage of vaccine, I don’t get the shot. Save it for someone who is more susceptible to flu than I am. And should I die of flu, so be it. They don’t say flu is the elderly’s best friend for nothing.

12Oaks's avatar

It’s my body, and I should be able to choose what to do with my body what I choose, right? I sure won’t wait in no 8 hour line like they did in the suburbs for a free shot from the government just because they told me to, especially when I could have gotten one from my doctor for 20 dollars after a 5 minute wait.

But the crust of it is, because I choose to do with my body what I decide, not what society dictates.

talljasperman's avatar

Because I don’t trust doctors….the education system that trains them is an exclusive club thats not always interested in helping people.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Rarebear I understand that your scare tactics come from an intense fear of viral disease and a desire to have everyone be well and not fall prey to being a victim of such a stupid thing as a preventable disease. However, there are better ways to convince. And if you are such a strong advocate of these vaccines, I would suggest that you do some research on what carriers and preservatives, etc. are in these vaccines, and what effects they have on the human body, so that you can back up your convictions, and not feel bad about advocating a medicine that might cure one thing, but cause some other, much worse side effect.

DominicX's avatar

I didn’t get one this year because I haven’t had the flu in almost 4 years and I haven’t been thinking about it. I’m not opposed to getting a flu shot, in fact, I got one ever year since I had a horrible bout of the flu back in 2007. I’m not in any risk group, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get one next year. Just depends. :\

Soubresaut's avatar

Just to clear one thing up that was mentioned above: while I don’t know all the other ingredients that go into a flu shot, it follows the same basic principle as all other vaccines. You get a dead (at the very least, weakened) strain of the virus. This is done so your body can spend the time it will naturally to create an antibody, without the virus attacking the body. Any reactions from the vaccines that aren’t a rare and immediate allergic one are the immune system kicking into action. While you may feel sick, you’re not truly sick; you’re building up defenses.

Now, even though I know that, I still don’t go. The honest reason is I’m afraid of needles. Always have been. So much so I’ll pass out every time I do have to get one, even though I try really hard every time to be fine.

And while I’ve got that huge fear of going to get one, I haven’t ever had anything to truly counter it.—
I have a very healthy immune system. I’m rarely sick, and if I am it’s only for a very short time and then I’m up and running again. I’ve only gotten the flu shot one year in my life, because my mom made me, and it was no different than any other year.
My sister had a horrible case of chicken pox when we were both very little, and even though I had forced proximity with her, I never got it. I was given a chicken pox vaccine a while later, and I guess there’s something where they can tell if your body has the antibodies already or something? Like the area of the shot gets all inflamed? the doctors said that, surprisingly, I already had the antibodies.

I’m not trying to say I’m invincible or anything like that. Just that I’ve never been as afraid of the flu as I have been of the shots. Probably dumb, but that’s why I don’t go. (...Sorry)

[Edit:] I just wanted to add that do have all the childhood vaccines. So I am vaccinated against the truly awful diseases…
And if it’s a one-time thing I’ll suck it up and deal, but the idea of a yearly shot freaks me out too much.

chyna's avatar

I do get the flu shot. But my elderly mother stopped taking it after having gotten deathly ill 6 years in a row the very next day after taking the shot. Three years in a row she didn’t get the shot and didn’t get sick with flu like symptoms. It’s not for everyone.

Bellatrix's avatar

The flu shot here is generally recommended for the very young, elderly or those with chronic health problems. I don’t fit into those categories so I don’t get a flu vaccine.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Vaccination relies on altruistic behaviour. Being vaccinated puts you at a very slight risk to reduce the risk of of the disease in the polulation as a whole. The thing is, people just aren’t very altruistic. Evolution has seen to it that people that put others before themselves are at a disadvantage.

This combined with the fact that vaccination has become so effective that people have begun to forget just how terrifying a lot of these diseases were in the first place. (This is particularly true of many childhood diseases we vaccinate against – measles for example can have mortality rate of 1 in 3 in an unvacinated population). The last time H1N1 was about there was no vaccination for influneza and the number of deaths was perhaps 100 million. This time we have higher rates of vaccination and significantly fewer deaths.

Finally the flu has always been seen as a disease of the elderly and flu vaccination uptake has always been very poor among the under 65’s. Unfortunately with this seasons and last years H1N1 the majority of hospiliastions and 90% of the deaths have been in those under 65 (and quite a large nuber of those in the 18–24 age group). These are people who traditionally haven’t seen themselves at risk and aren’t going to start now (and lets face it most people under 24 are still convinced in their own imortality).

coffeenut's avatar

lol…I’ve Never had a Flu shot…I’ll Never have a Flu shot…I have a better chance of getting killed by a runaway gulf cart with blue and green lightning bolts down the side…than of dying of the flu.

The flu vaccine can actually weaken the immune system and make you more predisposed to the illness….also People Die from getting the vaccine…..

lol…Worst case, we could all get one of these

etignotasanimum's avatar

I have no valid/logical reasons for not getting one. I just never really considered myself at risk for feeling the really bad effects of the flu. I actually had it this year and was fine. However, as this was the second year in a row that I’ve had it, and my father caught it as well and ended up with pneumonia on top of that, I might consider getting the vaccination next year.
It could be that as @Lightlyseared said, I’m convinced of my own immortality, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve had H1N1, and I ended up with no serious symptoms. It sucked, but was manageable.
However, I have nothing against the idea of vaccinations, it’s more like the fact that I would have to get a new flu vaccination each year. And it’s not guaranteed that the strain I’m vaccinated for is the strain that will be prevalent in my area, or even the one that I’ll come down with if exposed to.

Rarebear's avatar

As far as the scare tactics. I don’t care. I have a right to write what I want, and you have a right not to be scared of it. And if you’re offended by it, too bad. It certainly got your attention.

As to the supposed rareity of H1N1, we are seeing multiple ER visits and admissions for H1N1. It most certainly is not rare.

As to people not being young or old, this patient is neither.

As for a fear of needles, I’m wondering if the fear of all the crap that is happening to my patient (and this is the third patient that this has happened to me, by the way although this is by far the worst), if that would cause you to close your eyes and just get one?

For those of you who think that the flu shot will “weaken the immune system”, exactly what are you basing this information. The flu shot simply presents the flu antigen to the body causing the body to produce antibodies, so that when you are actually exposed to it, the antibodies will fight it off before you get sick (which, come to think of it is strengthening the immune system, not weakening it).

As for the ingredients, of course there are other ingredients. They have to grow the vaccine and deliver it in something.

Rarebear's avatar

@Lightlyseared he’s a mass murderer in my opinion.

coffeenut's avatar

@Rarebear lol…um the flu shot doesn’t prevent the flu…It supposedly weakens the symptoms of it…

Also What causes your body to produce antibodies?

crisw's avatar

To add to what Rarebear said:

@psychocandy
“Yes, I know others could get it from me, but I am not responsible for everybody.”

In a way, you are. The outbreaks of many illnesses that could be prevented by vaccination are often because of a lack of herd immunity. In a population where most people are vaccinated, a virus cannot find enough susceptible hosts to infect and will die out. When herd immunity drops, then the virus can propagate. That’s why we had a big whooping cough epidemic in CA recently- and several babies died.

@ladymia69
“the ingredients of the vaccine are not exposed to the people who are receiving it.”

Why do you say this? The last time Aster said this in a discussion I showed it wasn’t true- the vaccine ingredients are listed on the manufacturer’s web pages.

“Because there really and truly is no certain evidence that getting a flu shot keeps you from getting the flu,”

Where are you reading this? There are more studies than you can count showing that flu shots work.

“or that inoculation truly is effective at all.”

Are you kidding me? Why aren’t our streets filled with people with measles, smallpox and diphtheria?

@Chreese
“It just seems wrong to intentionally give yourself something bad for yourself”

How is a vaccine “bad” for you?

“Why take the risk?”

What risk? The risk of the flu is much, mush higher.

@coffeenut
“People Die from getting the vaccine”

Far more people die from getting the flu. Most people who become ill after vaccines do so because of allergic reactions. People also die from allergic reactions after eating peanuts, eggs or strawberries- how do you feel about those?

Mariah's avatar

@coffeenut No, the flu shot is a vaccine, which is preventative. Not for treating the flu.

As for the original post – yeah, this is the worst case scenario, no it probably won’t happen to you. But why would you even want to chance it when it’s so easily preventable? :\

(Personally I think respiratory arrest is much scarier than a needle, but maybe that’s just me~)

crisw's avatar

@Rarebear

Is there an intranasal vaccine available for H1N1? That would answer the “scared of needles” argument.

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw yes, there is an intranasal vaccine but I’m pretty sure it’s only available for pediatric patients. Also it’s a live vaccine and that tends to weird the naysayers out.

@coffeenut What produces antibiodies is a very good question, and it’s actually a very complicated answer—far out of the scope of this discussion. But briefly, when your body is presented with an antigen, which is a protein part of something such as a virus, your body will “examine” that antigen and “memorize” it using specialized cells (I’m using quotes because that’s not actually what happens biochemically, but in essence that’s what it does.) If that antigen is determined to be foreign, your body will take that now “memorized” antigen and then take it to other specialized cells and produce antibodies. The antibodies are specialized proteins that circulate in your bloodstream. You have countless different antibodies circulating in your bloodstream.

Those antibodies just sit there and circulate. If you are presented with that antigen once again, the antibodies will bind to that antigen and then “tell” other cells to ramp up and produce more of that specific antibody. The antigens are then surrounded by the antibodies, and then you have other specialized cells that will “eat” the surrounded antigens (and corresponding viruses) before they have a chance to replicate and create illness.

Lightlyseared's avatar

One if the things that also puts people off is that after any vaccination you can get mild “flu-like” symptoms as the body starts the immune response. People then think the flu vaccine has given them the flu and tell every one they meet putting off other people from getting it.

Rarebear's avatar

@Lightlyseared Right, but in most people the flu vaccine just causes a mildly sore arm.

coffeenut's avatar

@Rarebear lol…..um….thanks, but that was a rhetorical question….But within the 2 weeks it will take you to develop ani-bodies your immune system will be weakened from “fighting” the infection…

@Mariah a lot of people I know that get the flu vaccine get the flu usually around the “high” point and the symptoms are greatly reduced from if they didn’t…Though it could be a mutated enough strain that the vaccine anti-bodies has limited effectiveness to fight it….

podwarp's avatar

I just don’t want to. That’s pretty much it.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Rarebear and @crisw It all comes down to a matter of opinion, of which we are all entitled. And yes, you can say what you want to say. And I say I don’t get a flu shot, because I don’t believe in them, it’s my body, and I don’t have to.

Here’s the bottom line. People die when it is their time to die. It is the natural cycle of the universe, and life, for a certain amount of people to die in order to avoid overpopulation (which leads to more disease among other things, such as food and medicine shortages). You can’t stop people from dying from one thing or the other.

@Rarebear From the way you handled your comments in the question that @JilltheTooth linked, it is obvious that you are too arrogant to see anyone else’s viewpoint but your own, so why are you even asking this question? Let me add that if I found out my doctor had made comments like you did in this thread, I would fire him before he could say “40-foot yacht”.

Rarebear's avatar

@coffeenut Okay, I’m sorry. I thought you honestly wanted to learn something. My mistake, I apologize.

@ladymia69 I’m just trying to save a life. And the only boat I’ve ever owned was an 8 foot sabot that I sold to make money to go to college.

mcbolden's avatar

Honestly, most college students, like myself, don’t have the means to or don’t want to pay for a flu shot when we feel that we don’t really need it as we generally see ourselves as very healthy and don’t have a need for a flu shot.

jca's avatar

In the 1970’s there was an outbreak of Guillain Barre Syndrome that was caused by side effects of the Swine Flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine only is not effective against every strain of the flu, and there are many strains, not just one.

I got Guillain Barre Syndrome three years ago. I was told by the neurologist not to get vaccines ever again.

Prior to getting Guillain Barre, I avoided flu shots anyway, due to not feeling like the flu was something that is so prevalent that I felt it absolutely necessary to get, and many people get the flu and stay home sick a few days and then they recover fully. I don’t feel a great sense of urgency to get a flu shot.

deni's avatar

Because I have the immune system of a god. I’ve never had the flu or an ear ache, and since I’ve heard more cases of people getting sick after getting the shot than getting sick and not having had the shot at all, I’m convinced. Also, I have no money. Also, just no thank you. I agree with @psychocandy I’m not responsible for everybody. And the day that I am, as some above are implying, I will be very sad. What a stressor!

Soubresaut's avatar

@ladymia69 ”[@Rarebear] you are too arrogant to see anyone else’s viewpoint but your own, so why are you even asking this question?”
I really shouldn’t be answering a question not directed at me, but I don’t think that’s very fair of you to say. He’s, so far as I understand, not disputed anything except for reasons that are downright wrong. We’re all entitled to our opinions, yes, but to base them off of false hype and hysteria won’t get us anywhere.
Vaccines are notorious for having a bad rap for things that are patently untrue. The whole vaccines-cause-autism scare that kept millions—if I’m not mistaken, it was millions; at least many, many, many people—from getting a vaccine was just uncovered to have no basis in reality. It was all faked for monetary rewards. But people still bought into it adamantly.
Better facts can only help; facts are up to interpretation, but bad facts will only lead to problems.

@others, I think he’s giving the extreme pro-vaccine, because the anti-vaccine swings way off into the other extreme. He’s trying to make the battle more balance, more fair. Scare tactics are used to keep people away, so it’s only fair to try to use them to bring people back. And anyway, his scare tactics have a factual basis. Smallpox is awful, and was pretty much erradicated thanks to a world-wide effort to vaccinate for it not too long ago.

Honestly if it wasn’t for my semi-phobia, I’d probably be getting flu shots, at least some of the time. I know that it’s all in my head, and I know that the “reasons” I gave for not getting one are just what the fear is using as an excuse. And while I may try to avoid facing my fear, I’m not going to try to prove vaccines are evil somehow just to justify my own actions and/or limitations.

Rarebear's avatar

@DancingMind Got my point. Exactly. Well done!

Ladymia69's avatar

@DancingMind You seem to be looking at things as if they are either black or white, with no in-between. One size does not fit all, and one answer is not right for everyone. Just because you believe something is a “fact” does not make it so. There is no right or wrong, just what is appropriate for you, and what is appropriate for me. So fight on, if you must, but I, as you said, am entitled to my opinion, and you yours. And with that, I leave this thread, as fun as it has been.

ragingloli's avatar

I am lazy.

Coloma's avatar

I have gotten the flu shots since 2008 for my own well being after 2 bad flus in 06 & 07 and have never had the slightest reaction.

kevbo's avatar

My two cents… (if I remember correctly) H1N1 is two parts swine flu, one part avian flu, and one part human flu—and this is straight from the CDC. So, a) what is the likelihood that this lovely combination evolved naturally vs. the possibility it was engineered by assholes practicing their preferred version of disaster capitalism, and b) patients have no legal recourse in the event that the vaccine causes adverse effects because the manufacturers are immune from lawsuits. So while none of that information materially influences one’s morbidity/mortality, it certainly provides cause for noncooperation.

and I’m open to being corrected if the above info is inaccurate.

Rarebear's avatar

@kevbo Okay. H1N1 isn’t several parts of anything. It’s a 100% flu virus variant. It’s as much of a variant of flu as Influenza A and Influenza B. There are many other strains as well. That’s why the flu shot is not 100% effective.

As to the virus being engineered as a government capitalist plot? Are you being serious?

Bellatrix's avatar

A question, not sure if anyone would have the answer to this, but what percentage of physicians have had the H1N1 shot?

deni's avatar

@Rarebear cmon don’t completely throw that theory out the window. after watching all 200 episodes of x-files i’ve been enlightened. no, but in all seriousness, if ever there was to be a scam, that would be the biggest and most ingenius one, don’t you think? and no one would ever know either…and if anyone did know or have a hunch, everyone else would just think they were crazy…...:)

Rarebear's avatar

@Mz_Lizzy Funny you should ask that. At our hospital almost all of the physicians get vaccinated. In fact a few months ago a bunch of us stood in line waiting for our turn.

But I say “almost” because I had a meeting today with the infection control committee, of which I am the medical director. The nurse director told me that one of the physicians in the ER was out for a week with H1N1. Why? Because she didn’t get vaccinated. In her case it wasn’t because she didn’t want it, but that she just hadn’t gotten around to it (she had vaccinated her kids).

Rarebear's avatar

@deni Exactly. That’s the thing with conspiracy theories. It would take a huge number of people to know about it and not talk.

Rarebear's avatar

@kevbo Exactly. That’s what’s called a “mutation.”

Bellatrix's avatar

Ty @Rarebear. I asked because I remember seeing an email that was distributed a couple of years or so ago, when the swine flu panic was on, that said a number of doctors would not partake of the vaccine. Now I am not saying the information in the email was accurate at all, I just think it is an interesting factor to consider in this debate. It is good to hear almost (except the one who didn’t get around to it) all the doctors at your hospital have had the shot but I wonder what the stats are more broadly. GPs and other doctors for instance. The academic in me is curious. Thank you for your response and while passions are running high, whether to vaccinate (for swine flu or other diseases) is an important debate.

Rarebear's avatar

@Mz_Lizzy I don’t know the data on that. All I know is my own hospital because we keep statistics on it.

Rarebear's avatar

@kevbo No, I asked you if you believed in the governmental conspiracy theory. I was correcting you in your assertion that it was a mixture of other influenza viruses.

kevbo's avatar

Are you saying the CDC was incorrect in its assessment? Because it seems like they say in plain English that it’s a combination of four things.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Rarebear I’ve known 3 young adults that have died due to accidents within the past year, none were due to the flu. You can blame a good heart helping a friend fix a roof and falling to his death, a fight in Afghanistan, and taking too many pills. Have a vaccine for these poor boys?

I understand your frustration, but we can’t live in fear.

No, I’ve never received a flu shot. If you have one that won’t allow me to hear snoring, let me know.

Rarebear's avatar

@kevbo You misunderstand my point. Your implication is that it’s an artificial mixture of different viruses presumably by a governmental conspiracy. I’m saying that it’s a natural mutation. The fact that it’s related to other strains is not surprising as that’s how evolution works.

My question to you, again, is do you seriously believe that the flu virus was engineered by the government as a capitalist plot?

Rarebear's avatar

@jonsblond I don’t live in fear of the flu. I got a flu shot.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Rarebear I don’t live in fear. I didn’t get one. xoxoxo

kevbo's avatar

I think it’s likely that H1N1 was (by some entity), and the lack of legal remedy for complications certainly affords little confidence.

Rarebear's avatar

@kevbo So I just want to make sure that I have your point of view crystal clear. Let me know if I have anything wrong:

You believe that the government conspired with the vaccine makers to genetically engineer the virus. Then the government gave the vaccine makers immunity so that the vaccine makers will make money off the vaccine?

Rarebear's avatar

@talljasperman If you don’t trust doctors, your best bet is to go to your local Walgreens and get your vaccine (administered by a nurse) so you can not get sick and avoid doctors.

kevbo's avatar

I think the virus was engineered and the result was a worldwide market (comprised of multiple governments as customers) for a novel vaccine.

It’s a fact that manufacturers have immunity in the U.S. One might explain that the government assumes liability to incentivize the manufacturer. I wouldn’t speculate whether or how this arrangement affects manufacturer profits, but it clearly makes a statement about legal parity.

Rarebear's avatar

@kevbo Interesting. Okay, thanks.

kitkat25's avatar

I don’t get flu shots any more because every time I have had one in the past I have gotten really sick from it. It seems like if I get the flu shot I get the flu anyway and if I don’t get the shot then I don’t get the flu.

crisw's avatar

@ladymia69

“It all comes down to a matter of opinion”

No, it doesn’t.

Like most such issues, it comes down to opinion, misinformation, hysteria, and downright falsehoods on one side, and actual scientific fact on the other.

You did not answer my questions to you earlier. I wish you would.

“People die when it is their time to die”

Really? So you believe that no medical intervention is ever warranted? You never take care of yourself? You walk in front of speeding cars? Let children play on the freeway? Never see a doctor? Never eat properly? Jump off of tall buildings? Do you see why this statement is pretty silly?

crisw's avatar

@coffeenut

“But within the 2 weeks it will take you to develop ani-bodies your immune system will be weakened from “fighting” the infection…”

I really think you need to look into how the immune system works. This is absolutely not true at all.

crisw's avatar

@jonsblond

“I understand your frustration, but we can’t live in fear.”

How, exactly, is getting a vaccine for something preventable “living in fear”?

Aethelwine's avatar

@crisw I know you love to argue, not in the mood (and don’t have the time). I know for myself, I only get a vaccine for something I’m fearful of.

RocketGuy's avatar

Unbelievable! I work at a company full of “Rocket Scientist” PhD’s. We line up for the free flu vaccinations. Does one need a science background to believe in vaccinations?

talljasperman's avatar

@Rarebear I don’t trust the people who made the vaccination as well….If I can’t get info in the library on how it is made chemically,... then its not for me…. I’m boycotting professions that don’t allow the general public to be informed and licensed in their field… and I’m mad that I got kicked out of the education/university system because I wanted to help people instead of pushing lies and crap-science…If I need it I’ll rather make my own vaccine, than trust some group of Charlton power brokers with my life…

crisw's avatar

@talljasperman

“f I can’t get info in the library on how it is made chemically,... then its not for me”

As I have stated, several times, this info is widely available. What makes you think it isn’t? Have you actually looked, or are you just repeating what you have heard others say?

On the other hand, things like many common household products and some foods and drinks do not have all of their ingredients listed in order to protect “trade secrets.” Do you also adamantly refuse to use such products?

crisw's avatar

@coffeenut

You stated, in reference to the flu vaccine: “But within the 2 weeks it will take you to develop ani-bodies your immune system will be weakened from “fighting” the infection…”

Your first link is talking about the flu, not the flu vaccine. In addition, it is not from a scientific or medical website, and no author is even listed. I am always extremely puzzled at why anyone would take random, unverified, uncited information on the Internet as truth but refuse to accept actual scientific research. But even your anonymous article says to get the flu vaccine- so you’re also cherry-picking.

Your second link does talk about vaccines. And it’s actually from a medical website and is referenced. And it does state that it takes 2 weeks for the vaccine to work. But nowhere does it state that the immune system is depressed during this period. And the article repeatedly gives evidence that the flu vaccine is safe and effective.

So, basically, neither cite you have given supports your contention in any way.

JilltheTooth's avatar

For those interested in a more civilized discussion of this topic, here’s one that seems to be more balanced and respectful.

Rarebear's avatar

As @RocketGuy said many companies will offer free flu vaccines. The issue with the flu really isn’t the risk of death which is rare, but the issue of lost productivity hours at work. It is in a companies interest to keep its employees healthy.

Rarebear's avatar

@jonsblond The point of my post is that the flu is something to be feared.

crisw's avatar

@JilltheTooth

This is not really an issue on which there can be any real debate, any more than creationism or astrology or any other such issue. There is what is actually documentable, and then there is, frankly, unsupportable nonsense.

On one side is an enormous mountain of facts. Dry, boring mounds of paperwork documenting hundreds of studies that show that vaccines are safe and effective. Reams of data showing the numbers of lives saved. Pages of statistics on how antivaccination hysteria, by decreasing vaccination rates and herd immunity, leads to far more deaths than vaccination ever will. Not sexy and not newsworthy.

On the other side is shrill hysteria, clueless celebrities, oft-repeated accusations with absolutely no facts behind them, paranoia, conspiracy theories, and absolutely no scientific credibility whatsoever. Simply repeating, over and over that “vaccines kill people,” that “no one knows what’s in them,” that “vaccines are a money-making conspiracy” doesn’t make these statements any more true. But it gets the media salivating, and people listen.

In this thread, as in every other on this topic, those of us on the side of science have asked those against vaccination to prove their claims. Note that, in every case, they have not. Here, for example, when challenged, we get from someone against vaccination “I am entitled to my opinion, and you yours. And with that, I leave this thread, as fun as it has been.”

This is not just banter about some silliness like astrology or ghosts that has no effect, really, on the real world. This is about a phenomenon that directly and indirectly affects everyone. The babies that died in California of whooping cough because of the drop in vaccination rates. The kids in San Diego who suffered through measles because of a school’s antivaccination tolerance. Kids who will be born blind, deaf and retarded because of rubella syndrome. Babies who are too young to be vaccinated who will suffer because a drop in herd immunity exposes them to disease. All of us taxpayers who pay for the medical care of those who refuse vaccinations and then become ill. All of us workers who have to make up for lost productivity due to preventable illness. And the list could go on and on.

This is a matter of life and death. That’s the moral of Rarebear’s story. The truly uncivilized behavior isn’t the stridency of those who support the obvious scientific facts, it’s the duplicity, ignorance, and irresponsibility of the antivaccination hysterics.

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw Great answer on many account. Wish I could give you more.
You mentioned pertussus. In the same infection control meeting that I had yesterday (the one where I found out about the physician who didn’t get herself vaccinated against H1N1 and came down with it), we also talked out about a local pertussus infection outbreak that the Public Health Department is trying to nail down. Thankfully, nobody got seriously ill, although 2 month old was hospitalized as a precaution because of fever and cough.

jca's avatar

@crisw: The question was not about measles and rubella (as you listed in your last post). It was about the flu. Death and disability from the flu is not as common as death and disability from those other diseases. Nobody is saying that vaccines don’t do a world of good. Vaccines are wonderful. However, the flu is something that does not kill most people, and most people will go a lifetime without getting the flu at all. Therefore, the choice of whether or not to have a flu shot is something more personal for most. School age children are required to get most vaccines, but not the flu shot. Why not, if the flu is so awful?

Rarebear's avatar

@jca Did you read my original question? How can you say that the flu is not awful? Have you heard of the great flu epidemic in the early part of last century where millions died? You are lulled by a false sense of complacency.

Also, this is my third near-fatal case of the flu in the last year. This past month we’ve had 8 hospital admissions for flu and over a hundred ER and clinic visits for the flu.

jca's avatar

@Rarebear: I read your original question, and you gave an example that is rare for people contracting the flu. Most people get the flu, stay home from work a few days or a week, feel like s*** for that time and recover fully. Many people who responded here also agree that you used scare tactics and “worst case scenario.” In fact, at least the first 10 answers were “against” flu vaccination. I did not count further because I am leaving work now but I counted quickly 10.

crisw's avatar

@jca

I think you are underestimating the danger of flu.

As of 2009, H1N1 flu had killed 10837 people in the United States and over 25000 people worldwide.

The CDC lists influenza and pneumonia as the eighth most common cause of death in the US.

Seasonal flu kills 3,000 -49,000 people every year in the United States.

And, even if “most people [just] get the flu, [and] stay home from work a few days or a week”- as I mentioned in my post above, there are also the issues of lost productivity due to this.

Rarebear's avatar

@jca Of coure the first 10 answers were “against” because it was those people to whom my question was directed.

And your week off of work is not insignificant. Let’s say, for the sake of argument that 10% of working Americans stay home a week from the flu. Let’s say that, conservatively 50,000,000 people are employed. 10% of 50,000,000 is 5 million. 5 million X 7 days is 45 million person-days off of work.

crisw's avatar

@jca

Missed this the first time around:

“School age children are required to get most vaccines, but not the flu shot. Why not, if the flu is so awful?”

In some states, it is required.

chyna's avatar

@crisw How can someone “prove their claim” if they are just stating they do not want to get a flu shot. No matter what facts you may spread out before people, if they don’t want to do something, they won’t. You and @Rarebear have stated your facts over and over. Some people just do not want to get the shot no matter what you say. No matter if you state it the 10 times you have stated your opinion on this thread.

Rarebear's avatar

@chyna Exactly. The point of my question was trying to determine why people would refuse.

crisw's avatar

@chyna

“How can someone “prove their claim” if they are just stating they do not want to get a flu shot.”

Because most people are saying “I do not want to get a flu shot because…” It’s the “because” that is subject to proof. If you say “I do not want to get a flu shot because I am deathly allergic to eggs,” that is prudent and reasonable and defensible. “I do not want to get a flu shot because the flu vaccine is filled with toxic chemicals that no one will tell us about,” on the other hand, is a statement that demands proof.

crisw's avatar

@talljasperman

“Yes” what, exactly?

coffeenut's avatar

@crisw lol…“your Cherry picking” too…..OMG…More people Accidentally died than people who die from the flu… (your CDC site) Wouldn’t that fit into my “runaway” gulf cart answer?

This is wild…

United States /// Canada

cases/mil – D/mil /// cases/mil – D/mil
375.79 – 35.28 /// 765.30 – 12.65

….Canadians get sick more…but…Americans Die more (your flu tracker site)

Also Could be because the flu vaccine effectiveness severely varies (- 48%-95% + )

crisw's avatar

@coffeenut

Nowhere did I claim that more people died from the flu than accidents. You are stretching.

You also are, so far, totally avoiding the fact that you’ve posted things that are flat-out wrong.

talljasperman's avatar

@crisw I think we need to agree to disagree…It’s my choice….I respect yours if you want the flu shot then I’m o.k. with that…I don’t want to be typing all day… and my family just came home… I will spend time with them…

chyna's avatar

@crisw My point is that you won’t let it alone. You have stated your point, people have their reasons as to why they don’t want to get one and you want to argue with them.

coffeenut's avatar

@crisw I never said you said that…I just found that interesting…

Here says the time frame, and Here is the immune response…..lol, “Safe and Effective” could be a little overkill Here

Rarebear's avatar

@coffeenut All of those websites from the CDC make the case for getting a flu shot.

coffeenut's avatar

@Rarebear Those are to answer “But within the 2 weeks it will take you to develop ani-bodies your immune system will be weakened from “fighting” the infection”

This “More people Accidentally died than people who die from the flu… (your CDC site)” is my main reason

I’m not against the Flu shot for people…If they want to get it every year I couldn’t care less…I’m against the flu shot for me…As I haven’t had the flu for 16 years and I’ve been around alot of sick people…

Rarebear's avatar

@coffeenut The reason why you don’t get the flu is that people around you may have gotten the flu shot. That’s called “herd immunity”.

coffeenut's avatar

@Rarebear…Not might…Don’t.

So….all the people who “could” have gotten the flu shot…. Than got the flu….and be around me….and me not getting it…. Why would the flu shot matter?

I also have been around more…“infectious” people and never caught what they had

Ladymia69's avatar

@crisw I am not feeding your love of argument any longer, so here it is: I am right. You are wrong.

Ladymia69's avatar

Go ahead and rant some more, I am done with this page now.

crisw's avatar

Note again- everyone following this. The people against vaccination refuse to back up their statements with facts. Instead, when called on outright falsehoods, they claim they “don’t want to argue” and give up. But they still, somehow, think that their points are just as valid as those of people who actually can provide facts to support their contentions.

chyna's avatar

^^Proving my point. You just never stop. You are not always right.
I’m off this thread.

crisw's avatar

@coffeenut

I am rather confused by your posts. Are you still saying that you believe that getting a vaccination causes immune system depression? If so, why?

crisw's avatar

@chyna

This is not about me. I am simply trying to be a vehicle for the facts. Ad hominem arguments do not change what the facts are.

I am fully aware that I am not always right. And when someone can present actual data to back up their claims, I will change my mind. My point is that, so far, one side of this issue has all of the data; the other side has only emotion and untruths.

coffeenut's avatar

@crisw….you didn’t read them?

crisw's avatar

@coffeenut

Yes, I read them (presuming you man the two links I commented on above). And, as I pointed out above, they do not in any way seem to support your assertion. Can you explain more clearly how you think that they do?

optimisticpessimist's avatar

@crisw I was asked why I did not get a flu shot. I answered. No facts were needed.

jca's avatar

@crisw: My reasons for not getting flu shot are a little different than others, having had, as I explained, Guillain Barre, and being told by neurologist not to get vaccines ever again.

However, for the rest of the people who do not want it, whether or not they have a reason that you agree with, there’s no use arguing. If people don’t want it, they don’t want it, and that’s their right to their opinions and feelings about what to do and not to do with their bodies. I think that’s why people are giving up trying to explain themselves. They explained, you argue, and they feel what they feel and don’t feel they need to explain any longer.

crisw's avatar

I think one of the huge differences here is that I don’t see this as just an individual issue. It’s more like paying income or property taxes or following laws or traffic regulations. Even if we disagree with them, (almost) everyone does them because they produce a greater social good.

The same is true of vaccination. As has been explained, when vaccination rates drop, herd immunity drops. When that happens, people start to get sick and die. Many of those people are people who truly cannot get vaccines for legitimate reasons- too young, for example, or allergic to vaccine components. So those people who choose not to get vaccinated- especially those who then encourage others to do the same- are not just harming themselves.

jca's avatar

Luckily we have freedom to choose what we want to do with our bodies, so too bad for the herd immunity, people’s reasons are their reasons, and that’s all there is to it. No arguing.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

@crisw You made a huge leap. This was about flu vaccinations. I and my family have had all the other vaccinations (excepting the littlest who is getting his on schedule.) Being a veteran and having lived overseas, I may have had even more vaccinations than you. Flu shots are not mandatory. I actually do not need a viable reason not to get one. I just need to say, “No, thank you.” I am neither irresponsible nor unintelligent nor am I cattle.

crisw's avatar

@optimisticpessimist

“nor am I cattle”

I really wish the medical community would come up with a better term than “herd immunity” as so many people take it the wrong way.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
RocketGuy's avatar

It’s good not to be cattle. I, for one, believe that all drugs have side effects (small or large). I carefully weigh the possible side effects x probability of them occurring vs the effects of the disease in question x probability of contracting it. The trick is to get the possible effects and probabilities from reliable sources.

From above, I see a lot of people getting info from dubious sources. I also see a lot of people discount the probability of getting flu. That would skew the equation. What can I say except: go ahead and roll the dice.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Remember, @RocketGuy , that the Q is directed at people who don’t get a flu shot, therefore the equation is already skewed.

Rarebear's avatar

Right. If I were to have worded the question, say, “Can you tell me the reasons why you got a flu shot” then the answers would have been skewed the other way. But not nearly as interesting to me.

RocketGuy's avatar

But now you can see the reasons why the equation is skewed.

Rarebear's avatar

We just admitted someone else in respiratory failure with the flu.

jca's avatar

People are dropping like flies!

Rarebear's avatar

@jca No, they’re both still alive.

Rarebear's avatar

And we just admitted a 3rd patient with the flu that we had to put on the ventilator.

RocketGuy's avatar

Those who have no immunity to the flu should stay away from us carriers of flu antigen!

crisw's avatar

@Rarebear

Found this today.

Interesting reading. I always like Orac’s stuff.

Rarebear's avatar

Don’t know if anybody is still following this thread, but we just admitted our 4th patient intubated with the flu.

coffeenut's avatar

@Rarebear Still trying to scare people into getting a shot isn’t helping your cause….4 people within 2 weeks is nothing…..means nothing….... More people have died within that time from anything else…Gunshot wounds, accidents, heart attacks, earthquakes…..

Give it up.

crisw's avatar

@coffeenut

Just curious why you have time to complain about Rarebear but no time to answer the questions I posed to you above?

coffeenut's avatar

@crisw Because you didn’t read the links it is very clear….so I’m done with you on this topic.

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw, @coffeenut can complain to me all she wants, I don’t mind. She’s obviously interested in this otherwise she would have quit following it a long time ago.

coffeenut's avatar

@Rarebear You may want to keep your answers “gender neutral”... Jumping to conclusions on what someones gender is based on ????....not going to help your cause either….

Also I never said I wasn’t interested in this thread….

jca's avatar

Why try to convince someone when it’s obvious in this thread that the two sides are not going to change their minds?

Rarebear's avatar

@coffeenut I could care less what gender you are. I also don’t have a “cause”. I’m stating facts Writing “she” is easier than writing “s/he” or “his/her”. Lighten up.

@jca All I posted was that we put a fourth patient on the ventilator for respiratory failure from the flu. I’ve given up trying to change anybody’s minds. I started this thread and until this thread is closed by the moderators I will continue to post. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

coffeenut's avatar

@Rarebear…..Trying to convince people to get the Flu shot seems like a cause to me…. and the “facts” you state are heavily biased by it…. do you work for Fox news?

Care or not what my gender is….You made a statement based on zero info on what it could be…...What other statements like this have you made? What else could you be wrong about….

Rarebear's avatar

@coffeenut Last I heard, Fox News isn’t hiring critical care physicians. But if you see that if they have a job opening, let me know. I’d probably make more money.

I apologize for calling you a “she”. I didn’t realize it would be so insulting.

crisw's avatar

@coffeenut

You are throwing around far more insults than facts. Can we please stick to facts?

Accusing me of not reading your links (even though I did) doesn’t answer my question.

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw Actually, he’s throwing out straw men, not insults.

crisw's avatar

@Rarebear

It’s both, I think. Calling you biased, for example. Also, false generalization (“What else could you be wrong about….) and irrelevant conclusion/red herring (“More people have died within that time from anything else”)

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw Ah…yes. He’s a veritable treasure trove of logical fallacies.

jca's avatar

@Rarebear: how would I know whether I like it or not unless I read it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can we have an update on the patient, @Rarebear?

Part of the problem, Benny, is that you are submersed in a field of sicknesses. Just like a caseworker who deals with abused children. You see far, far more of it than the average person. It skews your thoughts. Like a police officer who has to deal directly with the horrible things going on in the streets. He or she may deal with things in the course of a week that most people never deal with in their lifetimes. You probably don’t take the same precautions in your life that a police officer does.

I haven’t gotten a flu shot because I’ve had the flu in my lifetime. Was it H1N1? I don’t know. I do know when each of my kids became very, very sick, right in succession, I nursed them back to health and didn’t get sick myself. I, personally, have not known one single person who has gotten sick with H1N1 that we know of. I’ve had friends and coworkers get sick, but recovered with no medical intervention. If it was H1N1 then they didn’t know it. It’s my understanding that once you have it you’re immune for life.

For now, I’ll leave it to my body to take care of me (within reason. Small pox and diseases like that are not within reason.)

Rarebear's avatar

@Dutchess_III No, my thoughts are not skewed by sickness, they’re molded by data, science, epidemiology, and statistics. You say you’ve “had the flu” in your lifetime. One flu is not like another and there are many different strains.

Patient #1 got a tracheostomy, and is still in the ICU undergoing rehabilitation, but still requires intermittant machine ventilation.
Patient # 2 got extubated and did okay
Patients #3 and #4 are still intubated on ventilators in the ICU.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So what is the long term prognosis for all of them?

jca's avatar

Also, @Rarebear sees people that are admitted to the hospital. People admitted to the hospital are usually not admitted unless they’re very very sick. Like I stated above, I was admitted to the hospital with GBS and the doctor told me there are many people who get GBS and are seen by the doctor as outpatients. Obviously, people like me who are incapacitated by it are few and far between. If there were a vaccine for GBS, knowing how incapacitated I got, would I recommend getting it? No, because the number of people who get it are rare, and although people do die from it, those are few and far between as well.

I, like @Dutchess_III, have known plenty of people that had the flu, they stayed home a few days off of work or school, they said they felt like s***, and then they went on to live their lives. If I knew people that had the flu and died from it, I might feel differently. I couldn’t get one if I wanted to, however, which is fine. My opinion, and obviously there are people who agree, is that it’s unnecessary.

Rarebear's avatar

@Dutchess_III Long term prognosis is tough to divine. Short term, they should all survivie this episode of the flu.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I hope so….what about the specific woman who you posted about? I don’t know if she’s #1, #2 or #3….

@jca…most people just say the felt like S#!t, like you said. Only rarely does someone tell me they have the flu (self diagnosed,) and then what they describe sounds like what I would call a bad cold, not the flu. But…people get sick and 99.99 of the time they get better all on their own. But that’s also a commentary on modern medicine. Fewer people are getting sick with truly life-threatening illnesses, like diphtheria and polio any more thanks to vaccinations. I just wouldn’t put the flu in that same category…..I could be wrong, though.

Also…that’s a good, sad example right there @Rarebear. You are dealing on a daily basis with three very, very sick people who are sick because of H1N1, and those are just the most recent. I, on the other hand, have dealt with zero people who are sick with that flu that I, or they, know of. Living with it, day in and day out HAS has to have an impact on your opinions and thoughts. Not just the stats and the evidence.

Rarebear's avatar

The one I posted about is #1.

Dutchess_III's avatar

K. Well…if it would mean anything, tell her I’ve been thinking about her these past weeks. I really have….

Rarebear's avatar

Good news. The patient I wrote about in the OP got transferred out of the ICU today. She’s still too weak to stand, but she’s able to talk on her own now for very short periods of time and she gave me a fist bump as she was wheeled out.

Mariah's avatar

@Rarebear Glad to hear that. Three weeks in ICU, yikes. When I went into septic shock a few years back, I was only in there for maybe two days. I can’t imagine what kind of a state she’s in.

RocketGuy's avatar

Must be curable – no need for vaccines, then. ;)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yay! I am sooooo glad.

@RocketGuy Wow…good to see you here!

yankeetooter's avatar

Just stubborn, I guess. I rarely get sick (I am knocking on something wood right now!) and I don’t feel the need to get one.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a sure fire recipe to make you sick, @yankeetooter! Let me know if you want it!

yankeetooter's avatar

@Dutchess_III , alright, I’ll bite…what is it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

O geez. Quickly now, I have to get to work. Saturday morning, get up, grab a sausage and cheese McMuffin from Mickey D’s (no egg ‘cause you’re on a diet!) go out of town to Hutchinson to their awesome cosmosphere with the Imax domes. Before the movie, go to their in house cafeteria and buy the crappiest, nastiest cheese burger you can imagine, and a lemonade. Eat only half of it because you’re on a diet AND it’s nasty anyway.

When you get ready to go see the movie (Hubble,) buy a medium box of pop corn and a large dealer of Hot Tamale candy (because you’re at a movie, see…) but SHARE the box of pop corn and Hot Tamale’s with your husband because you’re on a diet.

Ignore the fact that the spinning Imax is making you feel funny. Spinning heads use calories.

After several hours, go back to the hotel room, decline any food because you’re on a diet and too stuffed from all the other diet food you ate that day, but DO accept several rum and Diet Coke drinks (don’t forget the DIET Coke part,) and watch Back to the Future and be glad you saw it before or you wouldn’t remember the ending.

Get up in the morning, go back to the Imax for a tornado feature. Only buy one SMALL box of popcorn and a lemonade…..while in the movie finish off the last of the Hot Tamales from yesterday.

Go back home. Stop in Wichita and get a really diety and healthy and expensive dinner of Salmon and grilled shrimp on pilaf rice.

Get back home. Add a few sips of Natty lite later that evening a bit before bed, and presto!! Instant sick! Srsly. Works like a charm. Got rid of all the nasty salmon calories.

yankeetooter's avatar

Ugh! I feel sick already…:)

Rarebear's avatar

@yankeetooter You don’t understand. She really did that.

yankeetooter's avatar

@Rarebear : Well, I wondered, but I was hoping not…

Dutchess_III's avatar

ROFL! It was kinda a accident! I used to do that all the time as a kid…but not with the likker.
Leave me alone!

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