Flu season is here again; stores are advertising their willingness to assist with giving the Influenza shot. Controversy in this area looms on and is in the spotlight once more. The media offers both sides of the debate, but how does one know how to proceed? Which comparisons are valid? Getting the influenza shot or not is a huge decision for many people around the world.
Looking online for advice can be a confusing experience, as there is information from doctors, news outlets and bloggers. Who is telling the truth? Vaccines are a science and with all science evidence that is valid today, may not be so tomorrow. This is part of the confusion. Along with that issue, doctors have different opinions based on the results of research findings they are exposed to.
Another factor is what helps one body may not effectively help a body right next to it. Like peanuts or seafood, one’s allergy is another’s delight. The consolation of all this is one has the choice, for the most part, of whether or not to receive the vaccination.
Wisconsin is the only state where a bill is being drafted (by state rep. Jeremy Thiesfelt, R-Ford de lac.) deeming flu shots illegal for healthcare workers. The bill would also ban mandatory flu shots for staff in healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals.
Currently in Wisconsin if there is an issue, a healthcare worker can refuse to receive the vaccine and seek legal protection by the National Labor Relations Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Workers can also claim receiving the vaccination violates their religious beliefs. With these limited options available, many prefer to avoid confrontation and chose to quit their jobs at facilities that mandate inoculation. This has resulted in many highly qualified employees leaving their positions. The bill would rectify this situation, allowing workers to chose whether or not to get the flu shot and keep their jobs without conflict.
In Australia after a baby died and 350 children had to be hospitalized when given the flu shot, a ban for all children under five years of age receiving the vaccine was put in place. Finland followed suit when six cases of illness manifesting as narcolepsy were reported right after inoculation. Sweden had experiences similar to Finland, which prompted an investigation. India noticed many children throughout the world have had neurological disorders arise after receiving a flu shot.
In the U.S., the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) stated that Afluria, the FDA approved version of Fluvax, is not to be used on children under 8 years old. Fluvax has been known to be the cause of some of the vaccine-related issues. Subsequent investigation found bad batches of vaccines had reached the public, and precautions are being taken to prevent it from reoccurring.
The main issue facing vaccination is the flu virus’ propensity to change or mutate. Each change requires adaptable vaccines to combat and prevent it. Accordingly, there are known to be influenza strains A, (H1N1 and H3N2) and B which is combated by the three-component flu vaccine. Also available is the four-component vaccine, which works against the aforementioned strains plus a second influenza B strain. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone 6 years of age and older should get a yearly flu shot. ABC News reports natural immunity is better. In most cases, the decision to get a flu shot or not is left up to the individual.
By Dada Ra