Have you gotten your influenza vaccine yet? Maybe you have, because you wanted to or needed to due to your workplace. Or maybe you haven’t, since you don’t feel like you need it, or think that is makes you sicker than before. This debate on getting the influenza vaccine always comes up around November, where cities all over the United States urge people to get their flu shot. No matter what side you are for, the influenza vaccine debate rages on.
It was reported on Friday that the U.S. Drug and Food Administration gave the green light for Glaxo-Smith’s bird flu vaccine. This vaccine is not going to be available for commercial use, but for emergency cases should the H5N1 flu hit the country. This is the first vaccine to include a booster, called an adjuvant, to help the vaccine get through the body quickly.
In New York City, there are ads posted in the subway stations urging people to get vaccinated, saying that this shot is the best way in protecting from the virus. In fact, in public schools across New York City, the Health Department and the Department of Education will be providing flu vaccines for children from December 9th through the 20th. According to the city health commissioner, these vaccinations help to stop the spread of the virus, noting that there were less than 70 percent of children from six months old to the age of five vaccinated.
But, as the Center for Disease Control points out, there are flu-like side effects when getting the influenza vaccine. People may experience a fever, aching, and swelling or redness where they received the shot. Also, people were reported getting hoarse, a cough, headaches, and fatigued. In rare cases, a really bad allergic reaction can occur.
There was also the case with people in England receiving an adjuvant for the H1N1 vaccine eventually being diagnosed with narcolepsy. During 2009 and 2010, 800 people who got the vaccine during the swine flu outbreak got narcolepsy. It is a small number, considering over 30 million people received the vaccine, but that is a reason that many people would stay away from the flu vaccine.
Unfortunately, in the worst case possible, a person can die from it. A mother in Utah is speaking out about the death of her son after he received his flu shot. Lori Webb spoke with the Salt Lake Tribune about what happened to her son Chandler.
According to the paper, Webb said that her son received the flu vaccine on October 15th for his upcoming mission with the Ladder-Day Saints. The next day, he started to feel ill. On October 23rd, he was admitted to the hospital after days of horrific symptoms of vomiting and shaking. Falling into a coma the next day, doctors tried dozens of tests to see if there was anything that would come up, but after a month, Webb decided to pull the plug on her son and he passed away November 19th. She cannot describe how it felt to lose a child, she said.
While Webb encourages people to get vaccinated, it is hard not to be fearful for some people. Or some people would sympathize with her, and agree that there are always risks with anything in life, and vaccines are here to keep them safe from viruses. People will always be divided, and the influenza vaccine debate will rage on every year.
By Renayle Fink