Winter is here and that can only mean one thing: flu season. If you and your children have been spared the seemingly inevitable illness, then consider yourself lucky as this year the flu seems to be as widespread as ever. You may be tempted to take your child to get a flu shot to help them decrease their risk of contracting the flu this season. With so many places offering free flu shots to both children and adults, having your child vaccinated against the virus seems like the clear answer. However, you may want to reconsider that decision. Here’s why.
1. Most free flu vaccinations are offered at pharmacies, not doctor’s offices. If it’s free (or if it doesn’t at least require your insurance provider to cover the cost), then it’s probably not going to be offered by your doctor in his office. Many times the free flu vaccinations are offered at pharmacies or small clinics instead. While it’s great in that it could save you money, you’re highly unlikely to receive the vaccine from a licensed doctor or nurse. This means the person injecting you with the vaccine may be far less experienced than your doctor or their nurse. They may not understand the safest ways to handle and administer the vaccine and they may not be able to answer all of the questions you have regarding dangers and side effects. Plus, a pharmacy is a high-traffic area full of sick people during flu season. This means that you will be exposed to more germs and could end up contracting the flu virus before you even get your vaccine.
2. Your child may still contract the flu this season. Don’t for one instance think that a flu vaccine is a cure. While it can help reduce the chances of your child contracting the flu, it doesn’t mean that they won’t get it. Since the vaccine contains a small amount of the actual virus, it’s actually quite common for children to get the flu shortly after receiving the vaccine (although many will argue that it’s a less severe version of what they could contract if they didn’t receive the vaccine). The vaccine is known for being about 60% effective and only fighting off some strains of the flu (not all). While it can help you to avoid getting some of the most severe strains, it can also cause you to get sick with a less severe strain when you might not have gotten sick at all without the flu shot.
3. The flu shot can be very dangerous. Back in October Health Impact News published an article on how the flu shot is the most dangerous vaccine based on a high number of injuries and deaths caused by it. Often times, those who manufacture the flu vaccine are unsure of its safety and effectiveness. Sure, they test it, but often not as well as they should. There is no guarantee that the flu shot won’t cause severe adverse reactions which could even include death. This is why health experts like Dr. David Geier, who is also referenced in the same article, strongly encourage parents to reconsider vaccinating their child against the flu each year.
Remember, when it comes to having your child or children vaccinated against the flu, the choice is yours. Getting the vaccine for your child is not a requirement, so don’t let anyone influence your decision. Only you know what’s best for your children and their health.