Truth Editorial: Its not too late to get a flu shot
Posted: 01/10/2013 at 1:15 am
Health officials call this winterís outbreak one of the worst in years. So it is time to take steps to protect yourself and the rest of the community ó itís time to get a flu shot, if you havenít already.
Eight nurses made international headlines for refusing, on religious grounds, to take flu shots and lost their jobs at IU Health Goshen Hospital. They made their choice. But the hospital put the well-being of its patients above all else, which is its only possible response to a serious public health threat.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends flu shots for all hospital staff, volunteers and vendors. For good reason. Flu vaccinations limit outbreaks and save lives.
Some opponents claim flu shots give them the flu. It doesnít. If you got sick after an earlier flu shot, itís because you were exposed to an influenza virus during the two weeks it takes for the vaccine to provide immunity, you caught a non-flu virus, or you were hit by a strain of flu virus not in the vaccine.
Opponents claim that the vaccine is unsafe because multi-dose vials contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative. The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health reviewed published research on thimerosal and found it safe for use in vaccines. So did three independent health organizations ó the National Academy of Sciencesí Institute of Medicine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Single-dose vaccine units do not contain thimerosal. Neither does the nasal spray vaccine. So, even if you reject the body of evidence documenting its safety, you can still get a flu vaccination that does not include thimerosal.
Some opponents claim a link between thimerosal and autism. Studies find no such relationship, according to the CDC.
When flu vaccines match the viruses that emerge, the CDC says that theyíre 60 to 70 percent effective in preventing influenza. Flu shots significantly reduce suffering and death; they keep kids in school and workers on the job.
The outbreak has started, but itís not too late to get flu shot. If you donít, youíre putting your health at risk ó and the health of the entire community, as well.