Today at lunch the Bus Riding Conservative announced that he had received his flu shot. It made me realize I’ve never had one.
Even during the years when you hear the direst predictions about virulent flu strains sweeping the nation and knocking people down for weeks, I refrain from getting a flu shot. I’m not sure why, exactly. I’m not afraid of needles, nor am I one of those people who is opposed to immunization on the basis of some obscure religious belief or sense of social consciousness. I’ve received all my vaccinations and am happy to obtain booster shots when the doctor instructs.
They didn’t have flu shots when I was a kid, so I never got used to having them. And when I first heard about them as an adult, there always seemed to be issues about shortages. The news stories would say that the flu shots really should be reserved for young kids and seniors, and I was neither. I figured I would leave the shots for the people who really needed them, and that mindset still lurks — even though I’ve moved a lot closer to the senior citizens category over the years.
I’ve never really had a problem with the flu, so I don’t have any awful experience that would motivate me to change my approach. (This probably means, of course, that this year will be the year.) And there are studies that raise questions about the effectiveness of flu shots from year to year. If there’s a chance that a flu shot is just going to make me feel bad, and isn’t going to provide much assurance that I’m not going to get the flu anyway, why worry about it?
So this year, I’ll leave the flu shots to the seniors, the kids, and the BRC. We’ll see if I make it through flu season flu-free.