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Got flu questions? Go here.
Every year in September or October, the country starts preparing for flu season. While there are extremes in severity of the annual outbreak (from the dreaded, and still out there, bird flu to the 2009 pandemic), each year a lot of people get flu, get sick and some wind up, much to their surprise, extremely ill from what should be a mostly preventable disease.

We have a saying about flu (well, actually, several):

• How do you tell the difference between flu and a cold? Tape a $100 bill to the front door, and if you don't feel up to getting out of bed for the money, you have the flu.

• Q: What makes it a bad flu season? A: If you get it.

And to get the basics covered, who should get a vaccine? Pretty much everyone, and that means you:

All persons aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated annually.

Protection of persons at higher risk for influenza-related complications should continue to be a focus of vaccination efforts as providers and programs transition to routine vaccination of all persons aged 6 months and older.

By the way, people in the high risk category especially include pregnant women and newborns.
The Flu Shot is Safe for Pregnant Women

Flu shots are a safe way to protect the mother and her unborn child from serious illness and complications of flu. The flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. It is very important for pregnant women to get the flu shot.

Moms-to-be can get the shot, but babies under six months can't. So, to protect them, everyone around them should be vaccinated.

Finding a flu shot is easy, too, even if you don't have a regular doctor. Not only are many pharmacies and stores offering them, you can call your local Visiting Nurses Association (or go here) or public health department for local info.

So what's different about this season? Well, we have some good news for those who don't care for needles: if you're otherwise healthy, and you are under 50, you can have a nasal flu vaccine that doesn't use needles, and starting this year, if you are 18-64, you can have an intradermal vaccine that uses fine point lancets that you will barely feel.  

The intradermal flu vaccine is a shot that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle. The intradermal shot uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot, and it requires less antigen to be as effective as the regular flu shot. Antigen is the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses.
Now here's where the politics come in. The bad news is that we have a politically charged pseudo-debate about HPV vaccine clouding people's judgment. And while the "mandatory" part of Rick Perry's HPV stumble has many people unhappy, mandatory vaccination for other illnesses is pretty common. In this setting, for children the penalty is refused admission to school, but for adults, mandates come in many different flavors.

For an example that only affects some of us, flu vaccine for health care workers would seem to be no-brainer. Protect yourself, protect your patients, right? Not so fast. Here's a chart looking at seasonal and H1N1 pandemic vaccine in health care personnel for the 2009 season. It was a pandemic year, you may recall, and that year there were two vaccines offered: the traditional seasonal flu vax for a virus that was no longer circulating, and the pandemic H1N1 vaccine for the virus that was.


So, guess which vaccine got accepted? Why, the wrong one, of course! And why was that? Anecdotal information suggests that it's the same reasons that everyone else cites:
Fear of adverse reactions, avoidance of medications, and the inconvenience of vaccine administration were frequently cited reasons for declining immunization. Hospital employees would be more inclined to receive future influenza immunization if vaccine administration were more accessible and if they were informed that immunization were a national health care policy.
Well, you know what? They'd be even more inclined to do it if the vax was mandatory:


That's a powerful argument for mandates, right there. They work.

So, not everyone is a health care worker. On the other hand, public health is best served by open and frank policy discussion with consensus rather than passing things by executive order with the appearance of being at the behest of the vaccine manufacturers. That may include, for example, involving bargaining units at hospitals in the discussion about mandated vaccines, and it may involve the legislature (the people's representatives) when it comes to school mandates.

The bottom line is that not all mandates are created equal, any more than all diseases and all vaccines are. And in the context of doing the right thing, don't let Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry dictate the terms of vaccine policy. It's bad enough they try to do so on climate and jobs.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Up the ante (4+ / 0-)
    How do you tell the difference between flu and a cold? Tape a $100 bill to the front door, and if you don't feel up to getting out of bed for the money, you have the flu.

    Up the ante.  It might change the diagnoses.  

    I also thank the one who rearranged deck chairs on the Titanic so those on board ship could get a better view of the iceberg.

    by NyteByrd1954 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:59:57 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing this. (5+ / 0-)

    I used to get the flu every year until I started getting the shot 15 years ago.  Only got it one since (swine flu) because I could not get a vaccination due to shortage.

    •  It would be "more equal" if vaccine co's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Debalina

      were responsible for adverse side effects of their product.

      Right now - they get a free pass.  Anything goes wrong with the product - they don't "have to care".

      I'll pass too... to be fair.

      •  Are you aware (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, mem from somerville, CayceP, BYw

        that there's a no-fault compensation program for people who have experienced vaccine-caused injuries (it's paid for by a small surcharge on each vaccine)? The burden of proof required to have a claim approved is much lower than what would be needed if you were to sue a vaccine manufacturer (which you can still do in cases of actual negligence or manufacturing defects). You're even entitled to be reimbursed for any legal expenses you incur in pursuing the claim, even if your claim is eventually denied.

        "We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others."

        by ebohlman on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 05:19:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And the continuing confusion about (6+ / 0-)

    flu (influenza) vs. stomach illness. People saying they had/have the flu, people in their homes or businesses having flu, when what they mean is stomach upset and/or diarrhea.

    I don't want you around if you are puking, either, but it IS a different illness.

    "The Greek word for idiot, literally translated, means one who does not participate in politics. That sums up my conviction on the subject." Sen. Gladys Pyle (1890-1989)

    by Melanie in IA on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:04:41 AM PDT

  •  already got my shot, but shot distribution among (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, maryabein

    more outlets such as pharmacies/drug stores, while profitable, implies that more rather than less socialization of all medical services beyond mandates is essential in a democratic society.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:05:15 AM PDT

  •  My wife has been suffering migraines since she got (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snoopydawg, nicolemm

    her flu shot last year.  I doubt she ever gets a flu shot again.

    She did hear some anecdote from health care providers that there seemed to be a higher-than-normal incidence of side effects with last year's shot.

    •  not supported by data (16+ / 0-)

      that I am aware of. if anything,t he reports suggest less side effects.

      The trouble is if you get a shot any side effect will be attributed to vaccine, human nature being what it is.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:09:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Check CDC Wonder (5+ / 0-)

        Adverse events in 2010 were up on a percentage basis over the previous couple of years. They were still low, but the claim is supported by data.

      •  bullshit (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        US Blues, Amber6541, flowerfarmer

        nothing is 100% safe and nothing is 100% free of any side effects.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:29:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that is not what I said (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TFinSF, Amber6541, joy221, Tamar, ER Doc

          you're right, but so what?

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:35:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so what?? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snoopydawg, lulusbackintown, Aeolos

            so what you are the one with the mandating nutty talk.

            What part of freedom do you hate?  the part that we get to choose what we type of shit is injected into our body ?

            Bad is never good until worse happens

            by dark daze on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:38:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  so (5+ / 0-)

              are you a health care worker?

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:55:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  As a nurse (14+ / 0-)

              I don't agree that mandates for healthcare providers is "nutty talk". We work in close physical contact with patients who are already very sick and have compromised immune systems. They don't need people like me exposing them to influenza if there's any way to prevent it. This is about protecting patients...the reason we chose the healthcare profession in the first place.

              •  thank you!!!! n/t (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wishingwell, ER Doc

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:38:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Besides, DemFromCT, (8+ / 0-)

                  the miniscule risk we take from vaccine side effects...is absolutely nothing compared with the risks we are exposed to every single day just doing our jobs. We are giving injections and starting IV's on people who are HIV positive or Hep C carriers. Despite careful precautions, there are still times we come in contact with body fluids of patients infected with any number of transmittable diseases. We deal with combative and even violent patients.

                  Nursing is not for the feint hearted. We work on the front lines of disease control. Risk comes inherently with the territory.

                •  Strongly disagree with mandated flu vax for HCW's (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dark daze

                  Despite being a major fan of annual flu vaccination, I strongly disagree with mandatory flu vaccine for health care workers (HCWs).

                  1. I believe there is no good evidence that vaccinating HCWs reduces iatrogenic flu transmission in health care venues other than long-term care facilities. In long-term care facilities, there are far fewer visiters, and much lower patient turnover -- so the studies showing a benefit in long-term care facilities may not translate into a benefit in other health care venues.

                  2. The efficacy of the flu vaccine is nowhere close to 100%, so many "vaccinated" HCW's are still able to get and spread the flu. But they are not required to wear masks, unlike unvaccinated HCW's in some hospitals.

                  3. Visitors to patients, who are in close proximity to patients, are not required to be vaccinated or to wear any kind of mask.

                  I think the second and third point suggests "we" are not as serious about protecting patients as "mandatory flu vaccination" makes it sound.

                  I am also worried that HCW's forced to be vaccinated every year may express their ire by discouraging flu vaccination among their patients ("I was required to get this vaccine, but YOU are not.") This is testable, of course, and I think it should be tested: Do HCWs required to be vaccinated advocate flu vaccination for their patients at a higher or lower rate than HCW's NOT required to be vaccinated?
                   

              •  A decade later, I'm still angry (7+ / 0-)

                about the doc who came to check in on my father, post-transplant, while he was recovering from flu.

                Given that you guys can't stay home every day that you're sick, having as much immunity as possible seems essential.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:04:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  you should be angry (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ladybug53, ER Doc, ebohlman, Jody Lanard

                  no reason for that, then or now.

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:09:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  why (0+ / 0-)

                    more than likely, when recovering from a flu episode, you no longer can spread the flu.

                    A person can spread the flu a day before he or she feels sick
                    Adults can continue to pass the flu virus to others for another three to seven days after symptoms start
                    Children can pass the virus for longer than seven days
                    Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body
                    Some people can be infected but show no symptoms yet still spread the virus to others.
                     so more than likely the doctor was recovering and back to work. Not to say this was the case in this one time bit commonly, most people feel some symptoms, battle it for a day or two( that when they infect people, then sub-come take a few days off, and by that time, its been well past 3 to 7 days since first symptom.

                    Bad is never good until worse happens

                    by dark daze on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 07:52:13 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  So what?!? (0+ / 0-)

            So let's dance!

            ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

            by TFinSF on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:56:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  She is in the stage of her life where lots of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        changes are going on, and this very well could be coincidental as opposed to a cause.  Who knows, the shot could also have been the catalyst that triggered these events along with other biological factors present.

        Personally, my line of work does place me at risk a little bit, but I don't have direct patient contact.  I am also very diligent about washing my hands and using sanitizer.  I have only gotten a flu shot once (three years ago).  I'll consider getting a shot this year, as I'm getting older and the bugs seem to be getting stronger.

      •  Sometimes you get flu, post-vaccine, because... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, DemFromCT

        "the effectiveness in preventing illness from influenza often ranges from 30% to 40%" in people 65 and older.

        The same CDC link explains that for preventing influenza,

        In a study of persons 50-64 years of age, the vaccine was 60% effective among otherwise healthy adults 50-64 years of age, but only 48% effective among those with high-risk medical conditions [...].

        The vaccine works better (in preventing influenza) in healthy children and younger adults.

        Flu vaccine campaigns should be more open about the reality that sometimes "I got the vaccine but then I got the flu anyway" is because: compared with the more effective (but equally safe) childhood illness vaccines,, the flu vaccine has a much higher failure rate.

        But it still prevents a sh*t-load of flu and flu complications, hospitalizations, and deaths. I get a flu shot every year, even though I know it will not always prevent me from getting the flu.

        •  in fact, for seniors there's a double strength (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jody Lanard

          shot because seniors in particular, the most reliable flu vax getters, need more Don't know how well it'll work (only in its second year).

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 05:40:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  also there is this from CDC (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, Jody Lanard
          Can I get seasonal flu even though I got a flu vaccine this year?

          Yes. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on two things: 1) the age and health status of the person getting vaccinated, and 2) the similarity or “match” between the virus strains in the vaccine and those circulating in the community. If the viruses in the vaccine and the influenza viruses circulating in the community are closely matched, vaccine effectiveness is higher. If they are not closely matched, vaccine effectiveness can be reduced. However, it’s important to remember that even when the viruses are not closely matched, the vaccine can still protect many people and prevent flu-related complications. Such protection is possible because antibodies made in response to the vaccine can provide some protection (called cross-protection) against different, but related strains of influenza viruses. For more information about vaccine effectiveness, visit How Well Does the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Work?

          http://www.cdc.gov/...

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 05:47:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Don't get flu shots (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yg17, nicolemm

      But then, I stay away from children. Haven't had the flu in years, if at all. And, only a person whose never had a shot will say that jabbing a needle in an arm or buttock doesn't hurt. :-)

      •  the intrademal shot (new this year) (5+ / 0-)

        and the flu mist for the nose don't hurt.   ;-)

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:15:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I just had my shot a few weeks ago (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        I did not feel a thing , when I look down at my arm I had a small spot of blood so I know I got injected .

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:35:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I may be one of the few who do not mind (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indycam, Tamar, ER Doc

          shots at all. I think because I have been getting injections since I was a child. And I was 4 years old when I stepped on a bee and the doctor gave me a shot in the foot. I was rewarded by my dad with going shopping for a toy because I did not cry and I was brave. LOL. I got used to shots as a kid as some of us of a certain age ....well the doctors gave injections for nearly everything.

          If you have dental work done, the injection of novacaine...now that is painful.  And I am now accustomed to those as well.

          I think stomach cramps , headaches, body aches from the flu are far more painful and the shot is like nothing.

          •  I don't mind either -- don't love shots but hate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ER Doc

            getting sick much more. A shot hurts for a second -- I gave birth to 3 children.....
            (and during my pregnancy, the number of times I had to give blood is almost uncountable -- so a shot, no big deal).

            If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

            by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:52:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  My husband works in retail, he is close contact (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT, elfling, ER Doc

        with people constantly. I work from home and I am partially retired. He can be a carrier as I have littel contact with people in the winter but I get the flu and other viruses and colds.  So remember that other family members or roommates can become infected and carry it to you even if you have little contact with kids or people.

      •  Shot didn't hurt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        I got the new shot last week, and it didn't hurt at all. Surprised me!

      •  Last year I was too young and healthy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT

        to get a shot.

        I have NEVER been so sick in my LIFE!

        I stay away from everybody but it did not save me.  I'll be getting the shot this year!

        -6.12 -4.87 What does the trained one think of the untrained seal?

        by jestbill on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:50:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  more data here (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, annieli, ER Doc

      http://www.cdc.gov/...

      side effects are monitored by something called VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System).

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:14:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My opinion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries

      only - but if that is true she should be examined by a trusted healthcare provider. There is of course a possibility that the vaccine had something to do with her migraines, but there are other even scarier possibilities that should be ruled out.

    •  don't know your wife's age, but I started getting (2+ / 0-)

      migraines when I entered menopause. I read about it and it wasn't an uncommon event. I had problems for a while, went on hormones because I needed to get control of the symptoms (not just migraines) since we were going off to China to adopt our youngest.  
      When I went off the hormones, about a year later, the migraines didn't return.  
      Don't know if this helps at all, but it's just more info.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:56:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks- more info is always good. That's the main (0+ / 0-)

        reason I come here.

        She has been going through menopause for the last five+ years.  The migraines did not start until last fall, after she had her flu shot.

        She has chosen to forego hormone therapy and sticks with herbal remedies.  

        •  As we age, we develop different problems (2+ / 0-)

          or exacerbate other problems. I really advise you to tell your wife not to assume that "after" means "because of."  Of course it's possible the flu shot had something to do with it, but it's just as likely to be any number of other things. And problems that occur in menopause change over time too. When I first started menopause, I thought "no big deal, what's all the fuss about."  It wasn't until a couple of years later that I started having real trouble -- and I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  (and I still have some problems -- as my neighbor who was 65 at the time told me a few years ago -- don't believe that the hot flashes just go away, they don't!).
          My concern is that if she focuses all her concern on the flu shot, she may miss other possible causes of the migraines and be putting herself at risk of a serious bout of flu.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:05:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Shot made with virus no longer circulating" (5+ / 0-)

    That's the #1 argument I get from people who do not get the flu shot.  If the virus is "last year's strain" then why bother protecting yourself from a virus that is no longer circulating?  My SO has never had a shot and has had the flu only once in the past 15 years, and that's his argument.

    Anybody have a layman's argument that counters that one?  Did I miss the explanation in the main post??

    When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die. - Linkin Park

    by mystery2me on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:09:27 AM PDT

    •  The CDC looks at the evidence and decides what (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      parryander, elfling, mystery2me, ER Doc

      virus (or viruses) strain is likely to be prevelant and provides the vaccine for that. It's not 100% perfect but they're pretty good at this sort of thing. Occasionally they bring a special "one off" shot out, like the H1N1 bird flu one, but those are hopefully rare. So, unless the flu hasn't drifted from the previous year it's not "last year's virus" that folks are getting.

      GOP 2012 -- Austerity is just around the corner!

      by ontheleftcoast on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:16:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the shot doesn't generally contain (7+ / 0-)

      "last year's non-circulating strain". It's chosen form Southern henisphere circulating virus (Australia, Chile, etc) which hios their winter before our winter. So, unless there's an antigenic shift from a mutating virus (like in 2009 when we movend form H3N2 to H1N1) it contains this year's circulating virus.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:18:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they guess (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aeolos

        recommend a flu shot if fine, mandate one is so far over the line its not even funny.  We are not children.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:28:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There was a time that HIV patients were told (0+ / 0-)

        not to get a flu shot, that was back in 94 when my friend who was HIV Positive said her doctors told her she could not get the flu shot due to the live virus component.  

        I think that has changed, though?  Can those who are HIV positive get the flu shot.  ?

        •  HIV page here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell, ER Doc

          http://www.cdc.gov/...

          Because influenza can result in serious illness, HIV-infected persons are recommended for vaccination. To help you prepare for the flu this season, this fact sheet provides Questions & Answers to guide the administration of both flu shots and antiviral medications to people with HIV/AIDS.

          Should people with HIV/AIDS receive the inactivated influenza vaccine?

          People with HIV/AIDS are considered at increased risk from serious influenza-related complication and should receive inactivated influenza vaccine (the flu shot). Persons with advanced HIV disease may have a poor immune response to vaccination. Therefore, pre-exposure chemoprophylaxis (use of antiviral medications to prevent influenza) may be considered for these patients if they are likely to be exposed to people with influenza.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:13:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think this year's shot is for 3 strains, (0+ / 0-)

        the same 3 strains that were in last year's shot.  Is this year's flu shot the same as last year's?

        If I got a flu shot last year, is there a benefit to getting it this year or would I still have immunity from last year's shot?

        If I don't still have immunity from last year's shot, how long does it typically last?  If immunity only lasts for a year, or less, why is that?

        •  good questions! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc

          the same 3 strains that were in last year's shot.  Is this year's flu shot the same as last year's?

          similar

          If I got a flu shot last year, is there a benefit to getting it this year or would I still have immunity from last year's shot?

          If I don't still have immunity from last year's shot, how long does it typically last?  If immunity only lasts for a year, or less, why is that?

          from CDC:

          Why do I need to get vaccinated against the flu every year?

          There are two reasons for getting a yearly flu vaccine:

              The first reason is that because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses.
              The second reason that annual vaccination is recommended is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time and annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection.

          The decline in protection against the flu that occurs after vaccination or after flu infection may be influenced by several factors, including a person’s age, the antigen used in the vaccine, and the person’s health situation (for example, chronic health conditions that weaken the immune system may have an impact).This decline in protection has the potential to leave some people more vulnerable to infection, illness and possibly serious complications from the same influenza viruses a year after being vaccinated. So, for optimal protection against influenza, annual vaccination is recommended regardless of whether the viruses in the vaccine have changed or not since the previous season.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 05:46:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This year's flu shot is the same BUT... (0+ / 0-)

          ... there is evidence that immunity wanes over time, so the shot someone got last year may or may not protect them this year.

          And there is some evidence that immunity wanes faster in people who mount a less robust immune response in the first place -- and those are the people who need protection the most.

          And last but not least, the flu vaccine only produces protection against the flu somewhere between 30% and 90% of the time, depending on your age, your health, and luck.

          So I think it's a good idea to get the shot again this year, even if you got it last year.

          By the way, since 1978 when the flu vaccine first was made with three strains of flu (before that, there were only two main strains of flu going around), there have been six or seven seasons when "this year's vaccine" was the same as "last year's vaccine." It has ALWAYS been incorrect when officials said, "You need a new vaccine every year because the vaccine changes every year."

          It is hard to be both accurate and succinct when simplifying information. But hard as it is, the information should not be misleading.

          (p.s. If any of what I said above is wrong, I hope someone will correct it!)

  •  Many health care workers don't take the shots. (10+ / 0-)

    Nurses, doctors and others will tell you discreetly that the reason that they don't take the flu shot is because they don't fully accept the efficacy of the medication which may or may not be targeted to the specific strain making it around the country each year.

    Also there is some real question as to the long term affect of this particular yearly shot which is a different cocktail every year depending up the forecasts.

    My own anecdotal experience is that the two years (96-97) I took it I was sicker than I have ever been from the shot and from subsequent flu.

    I believe that the reporting in healthcare facilities is not accurate as the folks there say one thing and do another.  They resist compliance by lying.  Ask yourself why?

    Flu shots are just another profit center for Big PHarma IMO.

  •  Since I ate dirt as a kid (5+ / 0-)

    My immune system is better than most. The sanitizing of America is just a way to scare and sell.

    "I've been kissed by dogs and by people. I never got sick from kissing a dog."
    Barbara Woodhouse

    "Remember Bob. No fear, no envy, no meanness" Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan

    by BOHICA on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:11:03 AM PDT

  •  I'm not sure about the mandate thing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aeolos, ladybug53

    It can't be good when we agree and bad when we don't. Good when we think it's a good idea, bad when we don't.

    I think a mandate is a mandate.

    And it seems like every mandate needs an exception clause.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:21:49 AM PDT

    •  many do (7+ / 0-)

      for example, egg allergy for flu shots, religious or parental objection for HPV. Just about all mandates do have exepmtions.

      Interestingly, employers are less forgiving than the big bad gumment.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:25:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can't get a flu shot (6+ / 0-)

        because of an egg allergy.  I get the flu about every two years & it is always miserable!  I am hoping that one day they will come up with a different way of making the vaccine that will make it available to people like me.

        A tiny spot of blue in a sea of red...

        by lapidarygal on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:41:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've seen some very cool work (8+ / 0-)

          on producing vaccines in plant cells (carrots specifically). There are several great reasons to do this, including the fact that it avoids the egg allergy problem. It also scales up better.

          Another issue is that it would avoid some other types of contamination that can be a problem in culture systems with other viruses.

          Hopefully this will come along quickly.

          Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

          by mem from somerville on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:10:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Several of the vaccines... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc

          have low levels of egg proteins so are generally safe for all but the most severely egg allergic.

          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. Dalai Lama

          by TPain on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:59:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  an allergist can safely administer the shot (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Diana in NoVa, ladybug53, ER Doc

            under watchful direction.

            Recommendations Regarding Persons with Egg Allergy

            Each of the following recommendations applies when considering influenza vaccination of persons who have or report a history of egg allergy.

            1. Persons who have experienced only hives following exposure to egg should receive influenza vaccine with the following additional measures (Figure 2):

            a) Because studies published to date involved use of TIV, TIV rather than LAIV should be used.

            b) Vaccine should be administered by a health-care provider who is familiar with the potential manifestations of egg allergy.

            c) Vaccine recipients should be observed for at least 30 minutes for signs of a reaction following administration of each vaccine dose.

            Other measures, such as dividing and administering the vaccine by a two-step approach and skin testing with vaccine, are not necessary.

            2. Persons who report having had reactions to egg involving angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis, or persons who required epinephrine or other emergency medical intervention, particularly those that occurred immediately or within minutes to hours after egg exposure are more likely to have a serious systemic or anaphylactic reaction upon reexposure to egg proteins. Before receipt of vaccine, such persons should be referred to a physician with expertise in the management of allergic conditions for further risk assessment (Figure 2).

            3. All vaccines should be administered in settings in which personnel and equipment for rapid recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis are available. ACIP recommends that all vaccination providers be familiar with the office emergency plan (18).

            4. Some persons who report allergy to egg might not be egg allergic. Those who are able to eat lightly cooked egg (e.g., scrambled eggs) without reaction are unlikely to be allergic. Conversely, egg-allergic persons might tolerate egg in baked products (e.g., bread or cake); tolerance to egg-containing foods does not exclude the possibility of egg allergy (35). Egg allergy can be confirmed by a consistent medical history of adverse reactions to eggs and egg-containing foods, plus skin and/or blood testing for immunoglobulin E antibodies to egg proteins.

            5. A previous severe allergic reaction to influenza vaccine, regardless of the component suspected to be responsible for the reaction, is a contraindication to receipt of influenza vaccine.

            http://www.cdc.gov/...

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:19:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  TIV is the shot (trivalent inactivated virus) (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ER Doc

              LAIV is the nose spray.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:20:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Dem, thanks so much for this! I'll e-mail this to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DemFromCT, ER Doc

              my doctor. Perhaps he'll let me have the vaccine.  I eat scrambled eggs once or twice a year, and eggs in baked products, so I don't really think I'm allergic.

              Appreciate your efforts to get the word out re the 'flu!  All the best.

              "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

              by Diana in NoVa on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:27:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  There's a scary thought. (0+ / 0-)

        The corporations are worse that the gummerment in exceptions to mandates.
        That makes it even worse to have Big Pharma in collusion with the corporations.

        NO CE/CW. NO UNION BUSTING

        by Aeolos on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:52:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. Mandate is a non-starter. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Futuristic Dreamer, ainwa, nicolemm

      I don't take the shot.  I most certainly don't like the "authorities" of big pharma dictating to our pay for profit health networks to line 'em up.

      NO CE/CW. NO UNION BUSTING

      by Aeolos on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:38:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Am I mistaken? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NancyK, OHdog, ER Doc

        Are you saying you aren't taking the flu shot because it would mean giving a profit for big pharma?  That'd kinda be like not driving because you don't want to buy gas because it would give profits to the oil companies.  

        Or....is there some other reason you're not taking the shot?

        - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

        by r2did2 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:07:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Using your example (4+ / 0-)

          There are cases of Americans opting not to have a vehicle for their own reasons and one may be not to have to buy gas and fuel the dependance on oil and profits.  They should have that right.
          And there are many reasons I choose not to take a flu shot.  When you approach this issue of medicine and healing you are entering peoples belief systems and world view on how they see their bodies.  Almost everyone to a member of NOW to a Christian Scientist to a fitness freak are extremely jealous of that right over their bodies.  Claiming the scientific method trumps all is beside the point when asking people to put substances into their bodies.
          I believe in western medicine to a point.  But I also believe that there is a whole lot of alternative medicine that our system simply doesn't or can't recognize as legitimate.

          NO CE/CW. NO UNION BUSTING

          by Aeolos on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:25:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's fair (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, ER Doc

            note that in this case, i think health care workers and hospital health care workers should be held to a different standard.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:31:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If this debate was framed differently (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DemFromCT

              there wouldn't be an issue.  Of course health care workers should get the vaccine, most might agree.
              Now its that poison word "mandate".
              That term is going to get a run for its money starting tomorrow if the Supreme Court start deliberating.

              I have to drug test in my trade.  In the end it became a "condition of employment" and a "choice" on my part to work or not to work for that employer.  I didn't like it one bit but in the end you make the "choice".

              NO CE/CW. NO UNION BUSTING

              by Aeolos on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:09:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Not driving is a good thing: it even prevents flu (0+ / 0-)

          There are list of good reasons not to drive, and not giving profit to evil oil companies is just one, saving the planet is another.  If you walk and/or ride a bike, the exercise will make you healthier, keep you from being overweight, strengthen your immune system, and prevent a host of chronic diseases, all while saving the planet.  

          I don't have lot of respect of "environmentalists" who don't care about their cause enough to ride a bike, walk, or take public transportation whenever possible.

          I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

          by Futuristic Dreamer on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:35:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Vaccines are so low-profit (7+ / 0-)

        for pharma companies that it's increasingly hard to get them to make them.

        •  True, they are one of the few things that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, ER Doc

          inexpensive.   My husband has been getting injections tio prevent Hepatitis.  And those run around 21 dollar each.  And the flu shot is even cheaper, we were told.

          •  Unfortunately, the newer vaccines for childhood (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, ER Doc

            illnesses are much more expensive:
            HPV -- private sector cost is $130; meningococcal is $106 and rotavirus is $102.
            However, the Vaccines for Children program, unlike Medicare, was given the authority to negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical companies -- so the $130 you have to pay privately for HPV costs the VFC program only $109, meningococcal $82 and rotavirus $89.  
            Think how Medicare Part D could save by having that same authority!

            As for adults -- the shingles vaccine was enormously expensive -- and we couldn't get my husband's insurance company to pay for it.  My doctor doesn't supply it because she says that insurance often doesn't pay her and then she's out of pocket almost $200.
            We got it when we got all our shots for our second trip to China but given how awful shingles can be, it was well worth the money.  

            If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

            by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:20:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Can you cite a source for this. Thanks n/t (0+ / 0-)
          •  Here are some: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ER Doc

            Flu vaccine

            The high risks of complex vaccine production, unpredictable consumer demand and low profit margins, coupled with the lack of liability protection from costly lawsuits, drove many manufacturers out of the flu vaccine business during the 1990s.

            Focus on malaria and other scourges of the developing world

            "Vaccines have not been valued," acknowledged Jean Stephenne, with GlaxoSmithKline in Belgium. There is little profit margin in preventing diseases of the Third World, Stephenne said, and the demand for vaccines in developing nations has been too inconsistent for industry to invest in any large-scale manufacturing.

            Vaccines in general

            Manufacturers must identify the optimal return on investment. New capital is available only for products that will provide an adequate return. Low profit margin products with increased production costs may lead to withdrawal from the market. Increasing cost of vaccine development and production, mergers of manufacturers and the relatively low revenues from sales contrasted with other pharmaceutical products may have contributed to a reduction in the number of vaccine manufacturers during the past 25 years.
            •  Thanks. Sorry I wasn't more clear, though. (0+ / 0-)

              I was hoping for a more recent citation.  I googled around a little and found a couple of articles.  I think there's some confusion around this because it used to be the case that vaccines weren't very profitable.

              Vaccines get a boost: Global market increases profitability of making vaccine

              But profits from vaccines were virtually nonexistent until recent years, and manufacturers were discouraged from investing the time and money in their development. As recently as the late 1970s, tetanus vaccine cost 17 cents per dose, said Paul Offit, MD, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

              The arrival in 2000 of the pneumonia vaccine for young children, Prevnar, brightened the economic picture for manufacturers when it became the first vaccine to earn more than $1 billion, Dr. Offit said. The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, was launched in 2006 as a nearly $2 billion vaccine. "So there is definitely a sense that there is more money in vaccines than there was previously."

              Still, they are not nearly as lucrative as medications that people take daily, such as the statin Lipitor, which has sales of $12 billion a year.

              But other advantages to vaccine production have become increasingly evident, Dr. Offit noted. "There is a fairly beaten path in how to make them, and there is, to some extent, protection from liability in children's vaccines," he said. "The third thing is that they are patent independent. Once their patent runs out, there aren't all these generics that hop onto the market, because it is expensive to make a vaccine, and the market isn't big enough to support them."

              Vaccine development doubles over a decade, study finds

              Despite manufacturer concerns about vaccine profitability in the past, new U-M research shows that the number of vaccines in development by manufacturers globally more than doubled to over 350 separate products from 1995 through 2008.

              Over the same period, the number of organizations working on new vaccines also more than doubled, to almost 140 worldwide.

              Those are the findings of new University of Michigan research currently available online in the journal Vaccine.

              “Vaccines have typically been seen by industry as having limited profit potential, compared with therapeutic drugs,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., associate professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and Internal Medicine and lead author in the study. “But our study results indicate very strong growth in this industry, suggesting that vaccines are not only rewarding medically—they also are rewarding for the companies that develop them.”

    •  Disagree. This mandate is a no brainer, and there (6+ / 0-)

      is already plenty of room for leniency and like the diary states, plenty of other mandated immunizations already.  Look at the standard flu shot questionnaire that is used to weed out people who probably shouldn't get the shot.

      And the simple reason why there should be a mandate is because this is a case where *your* bad health and selfish impulses can affect everyone else's health adversely.  It's not like we are advocating the "fatty ingredients  tax like they just passed in Denmark.

      Having a policy does not mean receiving care. -- Tzimisce

      by Miggles on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:54:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm 67 but my doctor won't let me have the 'flu (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, Amber6541

    vaccine.  I got it every year with no problems until 2007.  Then I suffered an allergic reaction (breaking out into hives). For a few years after that I was OK because I'm retired and Dearly Beloved is retired as well.  He does work one day at week at an international airport (IAD), but that was still okay--he does get the 'flu shot.

    However, my little granddaughter, who is now in day care three days a week and with us two days a week, might bring the 'flu here from day care.  She's been vaccinated, though, because her parents are lucky to have the same health care we do (an HMO).

    So other than eating well, exercising, washing hands, using the Neti pot every morning, and taking the Wellness Formula capsules once a day, I don't know what to do.  Have you any suggestions for people like me?

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:24:14 AM PDT

  •  Whats that ? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Melanie in IA, TealVeal, Tamar
    Tape a $100 bill to the front door
    I remember seeing those in the past . Can I tape up an IOU for $100 instead ?

     

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:25:28 AM PDT

  •  My 93-year-old mother was born during the (6+ / 0-)

    influenza pandemic of 1918. To my knowledge, she has never had the flu. She is bedridden, has profound dementia, and has been on hospice for the past 18 months. Since flu can be the old person's friend, I decided not to get her a flu shot this year.

  •  My Father-in-Law has COPD (9+ / 0-)

    and could very easily die from complications resulting the flu.

    For his sake (and others who are as vulnerable), if you don't think its necessary to get a flu shot, just stay indoors away from everyone else.

    I'm not kidding.

    That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence

    by wretchedhive on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:28:23 AM PDT

  •  Uphill battle (11+ / 0-)

    A non-zero segment of both the left and the right are prone to any or all of the following:

    conspiracy theories, generalizing from anecdotes, suspicion of data, assumptions that anything produced by a large pharmaceutical company is a ploy to sell you junk you don't need in order to make a buck, and a general lack of critical thinking skills.

    Thus, anti-vaxxers are too widespread to get anywhere near a 100% vaccination rate.  

    ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:28:52 AM PDT

  •  I work in a hospital (11+ / 0-)

    and I was a resistor until last year, when they made it semi- mandatory. Guess what happened to me? Nothing. No adverse reactions.

    This year, at my hospital, the shots are mandatory. You will lose your job if you don't get the vaccine. I'm not too thrilled about the mandate but it seems like the right thing to do, so in the next few weeks I'll be rolling up my sleeve.

    They only call it a class war when we fight back

    by al23 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:33:11 AM PDT

    •  wave of the future (8+ / 0-)
      Mandatory Flu Shots For Children's Medical Center Employees
      Hospital's 'Cocoon Strategy' Aimed At Protecting Young Patients

      September 27, 2011

      http://articles.courant.com/...

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:59:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been taking it since the original dose (5+ / 0-)

      I am older than I'd like to admit here....and I've taken the flu shot each and every year it has been offered up.  I also now take the pneumonia shot, but it's not required yearly.

      I have NEVER experienced anything more than a slightly sore muscle in my arm where the vax was administered.

      Not only that, I don't know anyone throughout all my years in industry I have worked in that have had ill affects.  Sure, there were people that got a cold or got a headache or got a stomach virus following their flu shot and of course they blamed it on the flu shot...even when these ailments were "going around" before the flu shot was being administered.  

      I sometimes think many people come up with excuses why they don't want to take the shot simply because they just don't want to get "a shot".  

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:15:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I got the intradermal shot about 10 days ago. (6+ / 0-)

    To tell you the truth, it didn't hurt any less than the standard needle shot, which I mentioned to the pharmacist, who told me that the advantage with the intradermal is the recovery time -- i.e., no muscle ache afterwards, which turned out to be true.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:40:15 AM PDT

  •  Not mandated, but... (6+ / 0-)

    I work in a hospital.  It isn't mandated for us, but if we start to see an increase in influenza in the community, anyone who didn't get the get the shot has the option of getting it or going on unpaid leave.  It is amazing how that small pressure increases the compliance rate.

    I used to always feel a little sick after getting the shot, until I started taking either a dose of Tylenol or Aleve about 30 minutes before I got stuck.  Since then, I don't have any ill effects.  After watching my husband, who never gets sick, struggle with influenza for a week several years ago when I didn't even have a sniffle, I am extremely diligent about getting my shot.

  •  I get vaccinated every year (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, wishingwell, ladybug53, ER Doc

    Sometimes I get achy a day or two afterwards, other times nothing happens (apart from the sore arm that I'd expect when I get stuck by a needle). The one year that H1N1 was a separate vaccine, I developed a mini-case of the flu. I was miserable overnight and ran a fever for about four hours.  That beats being sick for a week in my book. Last year and this year, when H1N1 vaccine was combined with other strains, I had no noticeable reaction at all.

  •  Pregnant women NEED flu shots! (8+ / 0-)

    You said it, and you linked to it, but it can't be stressed enough:

    Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu as well as hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant woman with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.

    Flu shots will protect pregnant women, their unborn babies and even protect the baby after birth.

    Back in the '70's and '80's, I autopsied several pregnant women who contracted influenza in the second or third trimester. Mom and fetus dead from a preventable illness. Later, in family practice, I counseled my patients to get the immunization. One who did not, wound up on a ventilator-but she lived and her baby was born healthy.

    Dear Ayn Rand fans: Please, would each of you just go all John Galt, immediately? Thank you.

    by CitizenJoe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:03:44 AM PDT

  •  Compromised immune systems (5+ / 0-)

    That's the other major category of people who absolutely should get a flu shot every year.

    Yes, I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be a bit more complicated than that. The very fact of a compromised immune system can mean you have to be very careful about when you take the shot. It's all to easy to cause unexpected reactions that might make you more vulnerable to other infections (viral or otherwise) that happen along at the same time.

    I'm a prime example of this problem. Like many people these days, I take immuno-suppresive drugs (in my case, for rheumatoid arthritis) and have to time vaccination to the middle of my treatment cycle. Otherwise, I run the risk of either 1) suppressing the very reaction the vaccine is designed to cause and thus reducing or eliminating my protection or 2) causing a backlash reaction that suppresses my immune system even further and leaves me even more vulnerable to all infections than I usually am.

    It's a difficult balancing act, but the alternative is to be vulnerable to the flu at the points when my immune system is knocked down to its weakest. That's how people die from the flu, and I rather like living, arthritis and all. So risk or not, a shot in the arm is a lot better than a shot in the dark.

    Conservito delenda est pro is deleo orbis terrarum!

    by Stwriley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:08:12 AM PDT

    •  we really like the cocoon idea (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ER Doc, Stwriley

      everyone around you can get the shot.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:21:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would be a lot of people... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT

        in that cocoon, since I'm a high school teacher!

        Seriously though, I've never liked that idea much, since it means I'm trusting to the herd immunity generated by others but not contributing to it myself. In extreme cases of immune suppression, it does have some validity (because the risk far outweighs anything else), but for folks like me who can manage to take the vaccine with proper caution, it seems a bit selfish.

        Conservito delenda est pro is deleo orbis terrarum!

        by Stwriley on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:45:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I had a socialist appointment at the VA (8+ / 0-)

    healthcare facility in Long Beach, CA, to pick up my socialist
    hearing aids, and on the way out I got a socialist flu shot right there in the lobby. Not bad.

    "...be still, and cry not aloud; for it is an unholy thing to boast over slain men." Odysseus, in Homer's Odyssey

    by Wildthumb on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:18:19 AM PDT

  •  Got mine the other day...COMPLAINT THOUGH! (6+ / 0-)

    Most insurance companies cover these shots. However, in my case, it wasn't just an instance of showing your insurance card (mine being Highmark Blue Cross) and getting the shot at your local pharmacy.

    The pharmacist told me I would have to send in for reimbursement on my own. Oh joy. Spending 20 or 30 minutes trying to find the correct form on your stupid Web site so I can recover all but $6 of the cost is just what I wanted to do this weekend. It couldn't be a situation where the pharmacist just types in the information into the computer and I'm charged the difference, now could it? That would make too much sense and would be too easy. We can't have easy accessible health care, now can we?

    •  shifting the admin cost to you ;-P (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, wishingwell, ladybug53, ER Doc

      it's a 'hidden fee'.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:28:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  For me with Geisinger insurance and a Geisinger (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ER Doc

      doctor, I got there but it would be so much easier to go to CVS but then there is that paperwork I do not want to deal with. Plus Geisinger doctors give Geisinger insurance patients a discount.  

      It is interesting as my health care provider is Geisinger Health and my insurance is Geisinger health.  He is not just a participating doctor, the entire facility is part of Geisinger Medical Center and they have their own insurance company too.....I believe this is odd compared to most?

    •  imagine being able to walk in, sign your name, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ER Doc

      get your shot, walk out, no $ changes hands. If we had a single payer system, that's how it would work.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:32:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, my day with the CDC in my town (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TFinSF, DemFromCT, Amber6541, ER Doc

    brings me fond memories of this guy that I met. He called himself a right-wing nut.

    Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

    by mem from somerville on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:30:29 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting all this -- I'm a big believer (9+ / 0-)

    in flu shots and in vaccinations in general. I published an article a number of years ago (in the Statistical Bulletin, now defunct) on the epidemics of childhood diseases in the 1980's that occurred as a result of the drop in vaccination rates. National surveys had documented a drop in vaccination rates among children and the Reagan Administration took a courageous stand to address the problem -- they discontinued the surveys!
    Once Clinton was in office and we got the Vaccines for Children program passed (my organization was in the lead on that one), the immunization rates started climbing. Rates for individual antigens are pretty high -- many are in the 90's, but newer ones and the pertussis vaccine are lower.  However, when you look at the rate of young children being fully immunized, meaning having gotten all their recommended vaccines, between 20&30% have missed at least one vaccine.
    Haven't looked at the newest data, but generally pertussis (whooping cough) is lower because parents are still frightened by the high fever that was sometimes associated with it. They don't realize that it's a different vaccine now and doesn't have the same problems. Not surprisingly, we've never gotten the incidence of whooping cough down to a really low level.
    One other thing -- one of my favorite false facts/fallacies is an argument the anti-vaccine people have used in publications. They claim that rates of some of childhood diseases first covered by vaccines (e.g., measles/mumps/rubella) went up after the licensing and administration of the vaccine. What these people fail to report is that prior to the licensing of the vaccine, these diseases were not "Reportable Infectious Diseases" meaning that health care providers were not required to report them. Reporting was, therefore, hit or miss.
    The reporting requirement was established at about the same time as vaccine licensure -- so what really went up was the reporting of the diseases. Such a bald-faced set of lies especially given that these immunization opponents don't show the incredible drop in incidence of the diseases with the increase in immunization. Polio wiped out in our part of the world, haemophilus influenzae type b illnesses, once a major cause of developmental delays in children, now a fraction of what it once was.  Vaccinations are a major success in disease prevention and in a way, the most natural kind of prevention since they make use of the body's own defenses.

    If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

    by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:39:55 AM PDT

    •  I am in complete agreement, excellent informative (5+ / 0-)

      comment.

    •  wonderful comment! (5+ / 0-)

      thanks!!

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:36:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  just one more bit from CDC (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT, ladybug53, ER Doc

        first on Hib from before and after the vaccine:

        Before the first vaccine was licensed, an estimated 20,000 cases of Hib invasive disease occurred each year, and Hib was the leading cause of childhood bacterial meningitis and postnatal mental retardation (8,18). The incidence of disease declined slowly after licensure of the polysaccharide vaccine; the decline accelerated after the 1987 introduction of polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines for toddlers and the 1990 recommendation to vaccinate infants. In 1998, 125 cases of Hib disease and Haemophilis influenzae invasive disease of unknown serotype among children aged less than 5 years were provisionally reported: 54 were Hib and 71 were of unknown serotype (CDC, unpublished data, 1998). In less than a decade, the use of the Hib conjugate vaccines nearly eliminated Hib invasive disease among children.

        http://www.cdc.gov/...
        and in 2009 there were 38 cases of Hib in children younger than 5.  Pretty amazing!

        If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

        by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:54:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tamar, ladybug53, ER Doc, ebohlman

          I'm old enough to emember treating HiB, both epiglottitis and meningitis.

          Happy to forget about them.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:23:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We had a baby the next town over die from (0+ / 0-)

            haemophilus influenzae type a earlier this year.  Do you know if that is becoming more common?  We're very close to Canada and relatively close to Alaska, where I think there was some concern about serotype replacement, especially among the indigenous people.  Do you think it's possible Hia is replacing Hib in some areas of the country?

            I would love for H. influenzae epiglottis and meningitis to remain just a memory, but am worried that won't be the case.

          •  I have a hard time imagining a scarier condition (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            than epiglottitis (the epiglottis is the little piece of tissue in your throat that blocks off your airway while you're swallowing so you don't get food in your lungs. In epiglottitis, it swells up so it's blocking the airway all the time).

            "We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others."

            by ebohlman on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:33:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I had gotten the shot without pain. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    Because my intramuscular injection freaking hurt.  But- like I told my coworker, I imagine that the muscle soreness from the shot is way better than the flu.

    Democracy is often an indictment of the voting populace.

    by electricgrendel on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:43:48 AM PDT

    •  next year... ;-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:23:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not unless the hospital offers it. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT, ER Doc

        I am forced to get the vaccine by my employer and by basic decency.  Sure- I am not one of the healthcare workers who is at a facility that requires it, but the option is wearing a mask for 12 hours a day during my shift.  

        I don't see that as being feasible.

        Also, I would be tremendously upset if I gave one of my patients the flu.  I am a healthy 31 year old male, who has either never gotten the flu or has only had so mild a case of it as to confuse it with a cold.  Of course that doesn't mean I could not transmit the virus in some way.  So- I do it more for my patients than myself.

        All of that said, if I am forced to get the vaccine because of my employer and a basic sense of decency then I patently refuse to pay for it. :D  The price of that, of course, is taking whatever free vaccine the hospital offers.  I doubt that will be the painless sort.

        Democracy is often an indictment of the voting populace.

        by electricgrendel on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:19:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  flu shots are 1% effective? (0+ / 0-)
    Anthony Gucciardi
    Activist Post

    ...

    1. Seasonal flu vaccines have been found to only be 1% effective

    A major new study has determined the effectiveness of the flu shot to be 1%. This means that despite the H1N1-loaded flu jab, there is still a 99% chance that you will not be protected against the flu. The reason for this, despite the faulty science behind the development of the vaccine, has to do with flu strains. It is extremely challenging, to the point of guessing, which flu strain will affect your area. With such a wide selection, it is very rare (about 1%, according to the study), for it to be the correct strain.

    The researchers from the study stated:

    “The corresponding figures [of people showing influenza symptoms] for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%)” announced the study authors.  In other words, you would have to vaccinate 100 people to reduce the number of people affected by the influenza virus by just one.

    The findings do not stop there. The researchers also highlighted other findings about the flu vaccine, which topple the mainstream concept of their safety and effectiveness:

        “Vaccination had…no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates.”

        “Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost.”

        “The analysis howed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions…”

        “There is no evidence that [influenza vaccines] affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.” — Meaning vaccines do not affect transmission of disease, what they are designed for.

        “In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.”

    ...

    •  The Cochrane Library? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, ER Doc, Jody Lanard

      This is a silly and misleading article.  The proper frame of reference is how well it protects against INfluenza A and B, this looks at how well it protects against all winter infectious diseases.  You can't do a dumber study than that.

      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. Dalai Lama

      by TPain on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:08:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  all influenza-like illness, with rationale: (0+ / 0-)

        from the study:

        Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny noses). Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot tell the two illnesses apart. Both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness. At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses. Each year, the World Health Organization recommends which viral strains should be included in vaccinations for the forthcoming season.

        Authors of this review assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions (vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration) 33 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalised or working days lost but caused one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations. Fifteen of the 36 trials were funded by vaccine companies and four had no funding declaration. Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited..

        •  the article notes that (4+ / 0-)

          if you are looking to prevent  flu like symptoms, which can come from many different viruses other than flu, the low number is what the researchers reported.

          That isn't really a measure of efficacy against flu. Flu shots don't stop rhinoviruses, metapneumovirus, adenovirus, etc...

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:39:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is anyone working on some better tests (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wa ma, ER Doc

            for the various viruses out there that cause upper respiratory illness?

            I imagine that there's an assumption that since they're not life-threatening that the specific one doesn't matter all that much. But I think as a source of information for both medical practitioners and the public at large, informing where future research should go, that an inexpensive home test that could characterize the current source of your illness would be tremendously valuable.

            Also, I am jealous that dogs and cats and horses seem to get far fewer such viruses, or at least hide it better. (I guess, in the case of cats, that this is one of the times when having a job that requires you to sleep all day in the sun is really handy.)

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:23:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  there is a test we do (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ER Doc, ebohlman

              called a RVP (respiratory viral panel) with a 24 hour turnaround. it's a nasal swab and picks up 12 common resp. viruses including flu A and flu B.

              Many clinicians feel it doesn't change your treatment, just adds to cost, but I like to know what's out there, especially this time of year.

              Also cuts down on antibiotics if you know it's a virus.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:38:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  wow (3+ / 0-)

      I have rarely read a more misleading summary of an article.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:26:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  is this misleading? (0+ / 0-)

        from the same source

        3. Vitamin D is over 800% more effective with no side effects

        A major clinical trial performed at the Division of Molecular Epidemiology in the the Department of Pediatrics at the Jikei University School of Medicine Minato-ku in Tokyo found that vitamin D was extremely effective in preventing and reversing influenza. Led by Mitsuyoshi Urashima, the study involved 334 children, half of which were given 1200 IUs per day of vitamin D3. This is actually a very low amount of vitamin D, with many natural health experts recommending around 5,000 IUs per day for most individuals. If the researchers used a higher amount like 5,000 IUs, the findings and subsequent percentage would most likely be even more profound.

        What the study found was that 31 of 167 children in the placebo group contracted influenza over the 4 month duration of the study, while only 18 of 168 children in the vitamin D group did. This is in comparison to the flu shot being effective in 1 out of 100 participants, with countless side effects.

        This means that vitamin D is 800% more effective in preventing the flu than vaccines at 1200 IUs daily. The percentage could likely climb into the thousands if the dosage was upped to the recommended 5,000 IUs per day, and perhaps even higher beyond that.

        There is simply no reason to receive a flu shot when natural alternatives like vitamin D exist. Deadly nerve disease, narcolepsy, and overall ineffectiveness are but a few of the negative aspects of the flu shot.

        •  you need to cite and link to the source (4+ / 0-)

          not to the bullshit sites.  For example, your bullshit site cites the 1 in 100 number when that number refers to "flu like illness", not flu, as discussed elsewhere. That's how, among many other reasons,  we know it's a bullshit site. It has the same or less respect as citing rush limbaugh or prison planet.

          Vit D is actually very promising (I've written about it elsewhere) but not a substitute for a flu shot.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:12:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you need better judgment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc

          about the quality of source material.  That's a very poorly sourced piece, misleading on multiple aspects.  

          Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

          by mem from somerville on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:17:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        I'm really hoping this person does not evaluate research data for a living.

        Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

        by mem from somerville on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:12:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I read that the flu shot this year is identical (0+ / 0-)

    to last year's vaccine. I'm leaning towards not getting one since I had the shot last year. They did say that it is still recommended because immunity from a flu shot can wear off before the next flu season, and some people might get even sicker than usual the next time if they don't get re-vaccinated. But it didn't sound like they were sure of that in the article I read. I would really like to know if it is true or not.

    If it is true that surprises me. I always get the flu if I don't get a shot, and all of these years by getting the vaccine I have thought that I was building up the same kind of permanent immunity one acquires from getting sick from a strain of flu. I don't like the idea of growing older without the natural immunity I would have built up by letting nature take its course. It sounds like I'm setting myself up for more severe illness in the future if I can't afford a flu shot some years or if there is another shortage.

    •  well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc
      They did say that it is still recommended because immunity from a flu shot can wear off before the next flu season, and some people might get even sicker than usual the next time if they don't get re-vaccinated. But it didn't sound like they were sure of that in the article I read. I would really like to know if it is true or not.
      it's true ;-)

      you can count on 9 months to a year of immunity.

      The trouble with flu shots is that the vaccine only covers a certain strain of flu, and the flu virus mutates from year to year.  This year, not quite so much, but you still need a yearly shot.

      Also, we can now check with a nasal swab whether you really have flu when you think you do. There is other stuff out there ;-)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:29:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Appreciate the direct answer (0+ / 0-)

        I know the flu virus mutates, but once you get a particular strain of the flu the old fashioned way you retain some of that immunity for life, and it carries over to fight similar strains. Or at least that's what I got out of what I read about H1N1 during the pandemic-- that older people had more protection than younger people because the older folks had partial immunity from a similar flu when they were young.

        As I said above, I'm concerned about what was written regarding the possibility of coming down with more severe illness from a certain strain if/when you do get that flu, than you would have had if you had never been vaccinated for that strain (or maybe a similar one). In my mind that's a long-term negative consequence of flu vaccines that I was not aware of before. Flu shots are not 100% effective, and sometimes they get the strain wrong because no one can predict the future with certainty. There are also shortages some years, and sometimes you just don't get in soon enough to get the shot. That means everyone will get the flu at least occasionally and when I do I can get sicker than if I had never received any vaccines. Maybe die if it happens when I'm old and frail.

        Obviously I'm not anti-vaccination because I've been getting flu shots for several years. Now I'm hesitating for the first time. Hopefully you can tell I'm not trying to debate the issue. I'm just looking for better understanding, because I think I may have talked myself out of it based on this new (to me) info.

        •  first para is true, to some extent (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, Jody Lanard

          the second para is not. No data to support that concept (that vaccine make you sicker if you get that strain).

          I appreciate the straightforward and honest question.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:27:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You should get the Streptococcus pneumoniae (0+ / 0-)

    vaccine, too. H1N1 influenza makes the lung much more susceptible to damage caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Many of the 1918 flu pandemic deaths were caused by secondary bacterial infections ravaging the lungs. For whatever reason, some flu strains are more likely to allow this extra damage from bacteria. There are many strains of that bacteria and most kids get the ones providing protection against the most common childhood acquired 7 or 13 variants. Seniors are always advised to get the 23 valent vaccine but actually all adults should get the protection , not just in case of flu but to prevent  the so called "walking pneumonia" deaths which may be more common because of more jobs without sick days.

    Bipartisan analogy: Both musicians and fishermen want more bass.

    by OHdog on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:01:00 AM PDT

  •  This doc came down with H1N1 before I got vaccine. (8+ / 0-)

    In our neck of the woods, the virus arrived about 4 weeks before the first doses of vaccine back in 2009. And we reserved the first doses for our pregnant patients and high-risk folks with lung disease.

    Consequently I contracted H1N1 influenza before I could get vaccinated. And, let me tell you, it was no picnic. Like, 7 days of consistent 101-102 degree fevers and "shoot me please" headache & myalgias. After 4 or 5 days of taking Ibuprofen by the clock, I wondered if it was accomplishing anything, so I stopped taking it. Two hours after the next dose was due, I was ready to ask for a spinal tap because the headache was so bad I worried I had meningitis.

    So, yeah. Get your flu shot. If you work in health care and you refuse, you're an idiot, and a menace to your own patients.

  •  I'm not paranoid about side effects (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yg17

    just skeptical of the wisdom of an annual vaccine for a constantly mutating set of viruses. I'm opposed to a mandate, people should be allowed to weigh the cost/benefits

    Flu shots are probably good for people with compromised immune systems and health care workers. For a healthy person like me, I think I will ultimately have better flu immunity if I just deal with it when I get it. My H1N1 experience confirmed that. If they had had enough vaccine ready in time, I might have gotten that one after all the hype, but they did not and I got the disease. The timing was such that I was certain it was not a regular seasonal flu. I had body aches, fever  and classic flu symptoms, but alternative self care kept it from getting too severe and I was better in 3 days, fully recovered and riding my bike in a week

    -7.75, -6.05 And these wars; they can't be won Does anyone know or care how they begun?-Matt Bellamy

    by nicolemm on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:04:49 AM PDT

    •  in this case (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      the mandate is for health care workers, especially hosptial health care workers.

      thanks for the comment!

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:30:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am inclined to agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemFromCT

      I've either never had the flu, or had such a mild case I thought it was just a cold. Never had the flu shot either, so I'm not going to start now.

      It's not that I'm an anti-vax conspiracy theorist - I'm not. I just don't find it necessary for myself. If I had a weaker immune system (or this long string of good luck apparently) I would be first in line for a shot.

      TEABAGGER: Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights

      by yg17 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:09:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  if you get the flu (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, ER Doc

        the real flu. you might feel different. Too bad, it's mostly preventable.  But if I had a nickel for everyone I've heard in my career say 'if I only knew..' I'd be a rich man.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:16:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I started getting flu shots after... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DemFromCT

          ...my two-year old son (back in 1984) and I both had the flu at the same time. Luckily, my mother traveled 300 miles to take care of both of us! (She had been vaccinated.)

          What a miserable ten days! I've gotten the flu shot every year since then -- twice in some years, since I often work in the southern hemisphere!

          (As I've said in comments above, the flu shot doesn't always prevent you from getting the flu. But it's sure worth a try, compared with going bare.)

  •  Thank you so much!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, ER Doc

    Every year, I have to struggle with providers to get the shot in my backside, rather than my arm.  I have fibromyalgia and a shot in a small muscle is debilitating for up to a week.  I've even had to get special permission from the local public health guy because it's not designed to go in the tush.  I'm long past 50, so the nasal vaccine isn't an option.  I'll be checking out the intradermal, at least for the next couple of years.  :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:10:07 AM PDT

  •  Was there an H1N1 component to this (0+ / 0-)

    year's shot? It's so confusing. :)

    The man who moves a mountain begins by moving away small stones. -Confucius

    by Malachite on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:10:07 AM PDT

  •  Got mine, but some side effects (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, ladybug53, ER Doc

    First of all, thank you so much for your flu coverage in general -- it's great. I get a flu shot every year and this year was no exception. It was a regular ol' flu shot (no fancy nasal spray or that other thing), and I had two days of run down feeling, low-grade fever-feeling (unmeasured, sorry), and some obnoxiously-persistent headaches.

    I've never had side effects in previous years -- anyone else hit hard by this year's vax and is there any reason it's worse than usual for me?

    Oblig caveat: anecdotes from me are not relevant. Get your shots anyway.

  •  Pros and cons of drugstore versus dr. office (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, ladybug53, ER Doc

    I'm interested in people's thoughts on this.

    I think it would be more palatable for our daughter to us to go and get all shots together as a family, which they can't do at the doctor's office. The corporate pharmacy environment doesn't feel great either, though. We've started using a local pharmacy, and maybe that would work.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:32:58 AM PDT

    •  we will give it to parents (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ER Doc

      at my office ;-)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:34:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I always get it from my pediatrician, when I can (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ER Doc

      (the year of shortages was, of course, an exception) because apparently the pediatricians use a smaller gauge needle than do the adult docs and pharmacies -- and it really hurts much less.
      Our pediatricians supply parents with a flu vaccine as a courtesy (but we have to pay for it, of course) and I take them up on it every year!

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:52:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Should is an ugly word (0+ / 0-)

    Some people make you want to change species

    by ulookarmless on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:34:40 AM PDT

  •  flu shot (0+ / 0-)

    sorry, can't agree. . . i just don't think flu shots are for everyone.

    I have never been so sick in my life as when i got a flu shot;
    i have never had the flu that bad.

    I am 80; so not too much of a risk taking a chance on the flu.

  •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT

    My doctor considers me high priority for shots like H1N1 and others because I work with the public. Service industry, if you're insured ask about it this year.

    It gives a lovely light.

    by CayceP on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 02:02:52 AM PDT

  •  I stopped take the flu vaccine. Anecdotally... (0+ / 0-)

    ...while I was in the Army, I was 'mandated' to take a flu shot every year I served (4 years).  After every instance, I got the flu within a week of the injection.
    I know, you're not supposed to be able to get the from these vaccinations, and no, I am telling others others not to get their flu shots.
    But, for me, 4 consecutive years, 4 consecutive shots, and 4 consecutive cases of the flu...nope, no thanks!
     

    "The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid."- U.K. LeGuin

    by CajunMurph on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:27:37 AM PDT

    •  thing is, when you get the shot in the fall (0+ / 0-)

      when illness are prevalent, it's not surprising if you get sick.

      The obvious  conclusion is that the Army is bad for your health.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 10:10:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT

        I do believe in Service (Later, I did three years of Americorp- working at a food bank and managing an literacy program.), but the Army was a bad fit.
        It should tell you something that I went and studied painting a year after I got out.
        One upside of being a vet is when I get into a political discussion and someone pulls the vet card, I get to do the same thing.  A liberal and vet?  Blows their mind.
        Be well.

        "The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid."- U.K. LeGuin

        by CajunMurph on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 09:03:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  No flu shot/no flu: not trying to persuade but... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a public defender and spend a lot of time in public courtrooms, and five separate county jails, coming into contact with many unique individuals every week, not to mention close office quarters with dozens of colleagues, who have their own large number of contacts every week with completely different defendants, families, witnesses, etc.

    Despite my deep respect for science and evidence-based decision making, I cannot get over my superstition and get the shot because I am 52 years old and I have never had a flu shot and I have never once in my entire life had the flu. I rarely even get a slight head cold!

    While friends, family, colleagues, and clients fall victim to this illness,  I walk unscathed.

    I can't help thinking if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    If I ever get my comeuppance I will definitely start getting the vaccine.  But my personal history with(out) flu is thus far decisive in declining.

    •  :-0 at least you recognize it's superstition! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i love san fran

      here's to your continued good health.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 04:32:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT

        If I do get sick, you have persuaded me, and I will get the vaccine forever after.  Thanks for your outstanding contributions that educate all of DK that cares to learn.

        I especially respect the depth of your factual/scientific presentation and the lack of fear mongering.  

        Thanks.

        •  fear mongering (0+ / 0-)

          how I loathe that term!

          people need top be fair, including telling folks flu shots aren't perfect and don't always stop you from getting flu.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 06:57:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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