I don’t get sick. (So now I’m giving myself the “Kina horas”, and setting myself up for a fall!)

Really, I can’t remember the last time I was sick. Actually I remember coming down with something back when we had the blizzard on Christmas night a few years ago; but other than that – nothing!

So that’s why I never really bothered with a flu shot.

Then my wife started working on me.
She’d always give me the guilt, “…what if I get sick?”

Her deal is that her immune system is compromised, and that God forbid she catches anything, guess who hears it, and never lives it down.
Plus there’s a baby to worry about with another one on the way, and an aged mother in law who comes to visit often.

So the other day when I’d gone for a check up and was asked if I’d gotten the flu shot, I relented.

No ill side effects – nothing like that.
But then the thought crosses my mind.
Why are doctors, pharmacies, supermarkets, what have you all pushing flu shots?

It's not like there's the black plague going around.

New Jersey State Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan says, “It’s important to get vaccinated because flu shots are the single best way of avoiding the flu, and when you avoid the flu, you also avoid transmitting and spreading the virus to other people who are around you as well.”

She points out the effectiveness of flu vaccine really does depend on “what are the strains of virus that are contained in the vaccine itself, and how well it’s matched to what is actually circulating in the community.”

It also depends on who is getting vaccinated.

“Age and individual health factors may also play a role in how effective the vaccine might be,” she says. “No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but regardless, the vaccine is the best way of preventing flu.”

Dr. Tan adds it’s tough to predict how bad this year’s flu season will be because “we never really have an idea of what the flu season is going to be like simply because flu virus is so unpredictable.”

Some Jersey residents may not think they need to get a flu shot this year if they got one last year, but Dr. Tan says every single year the different types of strains in the community might be a little bit different from the previous years, so you still need to roll up your sleeves.

She also says people who think getting a flu shot may give you the flu are misinformed, and if you do get sick after getting vaccinated “it could be that they potentially might have already been exposed to a flu virus or another virus.”

The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated, especially the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women and health care workers.

But what about those of us who aren’t old, immune compromised, toddlers and the like?

I got it out of a sense of duty. Not getting it and putting my wife and family at some kind of risk is a headache I don’t want to have to bear.

But every year the push to get the shot gets stronger.

Do we all need to get the shots, or (and I’m being wacky here); is this some kind of conspiracy on the part of the pharmaceutical companies to push more and more medications on us?

(As an aside, Merck reports record profits and still goes to lay off 48 hundred...just sayin')

It's like the drug companies haven’t pushed enough on us already. But that's just me being wacky.

Now let me go take a Xanax!

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