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Here’s why you shouldn’t get a flu shot

2 symbols depict the vaccine debate
The debate against flu shots: Angela Daly, RN, breaks it down.

A nurse helps you cut through the confusion about influenza vaccines

The annual dialog around flu shots should be predictable, but it’s not. Anti-vaccination sentiment is growing, and so is pushback from the medical field. If you’re on the fence, consider these reasons not to get a flu shot.

You need a break

Inoculation may reduce the risk of getting the sick, but your PTO is piling up and it’s time to use it. Certainly symptoms such as a fever of 100.8 F, the feeling of being hit by a truck and the risk of hospitalization or death won’t spoil your time on the couch. A flu infection can last for days or weeks--so staycation, here you come.

You come first

You know your body best and you’ve never gotten the flu before, so why worry now? Herd immunity--protecting others’ health--by getting the flu shot is nice, but that’s not your responsibility. Grandma Sue survived the Great Depression and has made it this far. She doesn’t need your help now.

You are special

Last year’s influenza virus was fatal to 80,000 Americans--even healthy ones. But not you. You’re stronger than average folks who lack the character to fight the flu. Anyway, you survived middle school--or divorce, combat or whatever--so fending off microscopic organisms is a piece of cake.

You are mindful

You exercise often, get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. You eat only organic food, and nothing is more organic than a live virus. Building immunity through inoculation is an artificial short-cut. So you step up your hand-washing and keep Lysol handy during flu season. Just be sure to carry a disinfectant everywhere, all the time, with your “trigger finger” ready for when someone sneezes near you.

You work smart, not hard

It takes about two weeks to build your immunity after inoculation, but only a few hours to catch the flu. Vaccinations don’t guarantee 100% immunity, so you play with better odds instead: The rate of getting sick without vaccination is about 9%--if you're healthy.

You are high-tech

You keep up with all the latest technology, and Northwell Health hospitals have the all latest sophisticated equipment. This flu season, you could get first-hand experience with high-tech patient rooms, complete with digital monitors and side-lift assist. And today’s hospital beds are geared to reduce the risk of pressure injuries (“bed sores”) while electronic beeps keep you company at night.

Enough satire! There’s no reason NOT to get a flu shot

This article is satire that dispels falsehoods and myths about flu vaccines. Northwell Health encourages all healthy people to follow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for annual vaccination against influenza.

The 2019-20 vaccine is available as an injection and, depending on other medications you may take, a nasal spray. Both work equally well. So please protect yourself, your family, your coworkers and your community from getting and spreading the flu. Visit your primary care physician or a Northwell Health GoHealth Urgent Care Center to get inoculated.

Angela Daly, RN, is a research nurse at Northwell Health Physician Partners Cardiology at Southampton and a board member of Nurses Who Vaccinate, a nonprofit that encourages nurses to advocate for health for themselves, their families and their communities.

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