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Ñoño y Pepino (énfasis en la P máyúscula) de corazon

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Flu vaccine. Please get yours

I've heard several people state that they haven't and won't get vaccinated this year against the flu. This here post is an attempt to put information into YOUR hands so that you make an informed and responsible decision on this matter.

What is the Influenza?

It's basically a disease of the lungs, nose and throat. Severe coughing and running nose are also typical of the disease. Most people will be sick for about one week before feeling better, but some people (specially young children, pregnant women and old people) can get very sick and some may die. More than 60,000 people die every year in the US alone due to the Influenza virus.

How does the vaccine work?

There's 2 types of vaccine: TIV (trivalent inactivated influenza virus) & LAIV (live, attenuated influenza virus). Basically, one is made out of dead or inactivated virus (TIV) and the other is made out of live, but "beaten up" virus. The live version is slightly more effective, but more expensive as well to manufacture.

Does it work?

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that "The overall efficacy in preventing laboratory-documented influenza from all three influenza strains combined was 85% and 71%" talking about LAIV and TIV respectively. So in short, yes. Most of the time.

Who should get it?
Short answer: Almost everybody.
Long answer: Check this webpage

Any adverse effects I should be aware of ?
There's some chance of getting a fever after the vaccine, but this shouldn't last for long. No other serious side effects have been ovserved in numerous trials as shown here
I'd like to rant for a few paragraphs here. I've heard complaints of people claiming they got sick after getting the vaccine. If you're getting the TIV, there's no way in hell you get the flu out of it, because its DEAD. If you're getting the LAIV, there's a very slight chance you might get it, but as mentioned before, its not a perfect 100% guarantee vaccine. I've also heard people say that they got other kind of sickness after taking the flu vaccine. This is obviously perfectly feasible, as a flu vaccine won't protect you from measles, polio, or getting hit by a car. It's a FLU vaccine, it protects you from the influenza. Correlation is not causation, people. If I get the vaccine and get run-over by a car, the vaccine did NOT cause the car to run over me. They're correlated, but not caused by it. Same goes for other diseases, if you got the vaccine and got sick, its not because you got the vaccine, they're independent events and you would probably have become sick any way.

If it's not 100% effective, why should I take it?
Read above, dummy. There's a 70% - 80% chance it will prevent you from getting sick. And its free. By paying $0 you get 70%- 80% chance of not getting sick, its a no-brainer.

I never get sick, so why should I take it?
Read above, young children, old people and pregnant people are prone to DYING from this shit. Do you have un-vaccinated: little brothers, sisters, friends, grandparents, great-grandparents, old friends, pregnant friends, a pregnant wife, a pregnant little sister (hey, it happens) ?? We'll, if you're in contact with any of these, and other younglins/elders/pregnant women then you're putting THEM at risk. You might be healthy as a horse, and maybe even carrying the virus, but not getting sick. This does NOT mean you're not spreading it. Don't be an ass, care about the people around you.

Also,let's briefly talk about this thing called herd immunity. Basically what this means is that if a certain percentage of the population gets vaccinated, they'll "watch out" for the other members of the "herd". If a lot of people are vaccinated, they won't get the disease, which whill reduce the number of virae out there, which reduces contagion on other members.

Myths about the Flu

That's a great site with some myths about the flu, interesting to read. You can find a dozen other sites with flu myths by just googling it

So. What I hope to communicate here is:
The vaccine is a pretty safe (small chance of very minor fever for a couple of days), pretty effective, free way of protecting yourself and others around you.
Don't be an ass, get yours.

2 comments:

elf said...

Doc said a year and a half ago that while pregnant not to take this vaccine.

Some doc who was hired, by the old working place, to give the vaccine to everyone (paid by the boss, a good investment for sick workers can't work).

Didn't ask why not.

Vilrandir said...

LAIV should not be administered to pregnant women (or men !) but TIV is OK.

See long answer to "Who should get it?"