Are flu shots worth a shot?

Hayley Moss, Arts/Entertainment Editor

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With flu season coming to a peak and more and more students missing school due to the flu, the flu shot is an obvious necessity to eliminate the number of cases.

    However, many people boycott the flu shot as a result of common misconceptions about the vaccination. USD 232 Health Services Coordinator Tara Harmon-Moore wants to provide clarity about the truth with flu shots.

    “I think the word ‘vaccination’ gets a bad rap from the study came out that said that vaccinations cause autism—even though that person came back and said actually the study was not a valid study—people still have that opinion,” Harmon-Moore said.

    Newly-hired nurse Anne Lightcap wants to emphasize to students just how dangerous the illness can be.

    “I think last year proved that we had a lot of deaths from the flu, even with people who were not really in the high-risk categories like the very young or the very old,” Lightcap said.

    The flu shot also prevents many more afflictions than death alone.

     “It also prevents flu-related hospitalizations because a lot of times people get the flu, and then they end up getting pneumonia. So it’s not the flu that causes the death, it’s the pneumonia,” Harmon-Moore said.

    Although the flu shot tremendously improves chances of not getting the flu, it does not completely eliminate all potential.

    “It won’t stop you from getting the flu, but it will reduce flu illnesses. You can still get the flu shot and get the flu, but instead of it knocking you out for seven to 10 days, it knocks you out for half that time,” Harmon-Moore said.

    Despite its inability to eliminate the flu altogether, the vaccination itself cannot give someone the flu.

    “I don’t think people understand the science behind vaccinations. You can’t get the flu from the flu shot; it’s an inactivated virus,” Lightcap said.

    Many students such as junior Sydney Ames are taking their health as well as others’ into their own hands.

    “Not only do I get flu shots to protect myself, but I do so to protect others. I’m a strong believer in the concept of herd immunity, so I believe the vaccine debate isn’t just an issue of body autonomy. Your choice affects other people,” Ames said.

    While flu season is at a high, nurses would like to remind students to stay home if flu-like symptoms begin to develop, as stated with the new exclusion policy.

    “Our exclusion policy follows the Johnson County exclusion recommendations. As of this year, because of the past flu seasons that have occurred, the exclusion policy is seven days … from the day your symptoms started,” Harmon-Moore said.

    Despite the flu shot lacking a 100 percent guarantee against the flu, it seems to be beneficial in preventing illness.

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