Here's 9 good reasons why I got my flu shot today.
1) It was free, and I could get it right outside the doors of my lab. The University of Calgary does a pretty good job trying to get all of their students and staff vaccinated. If you can't get your vaccine at work like me, you can get it from many pharmacies and clinics throughout Calgary. Check out this link for more info.
2) On average, 12,500 Canadians are hospitalized with influenza each year, and 3,500 of them will die from it. While I'm not in a particularly high risk group myself, by getting vaccinated I contribute to heard immunity and am doing my part to protect those people who at at risk.
3) Influenza is a virus, so if I did come down with it, no amount of antibiotics (which target bacterial infections) will help me.
4) You get a lot of bang for your buck, especially since I didn't pay for it. This year's vaccine is targeted against 3 flu strains, the mutated variant of last years H3N1, a new form of H1N1 and B/Phuket.
5) Side effects are minimal, and risk is low. Basically you can expect to have some soreness at the injection site and that's about it. Even flu-like symptoms and fever associated with the vaccine are very rare. Some (not all) studies found a risk for Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but this was literally 1-2 in a million. Also you're much more likely to get it from the flu itself.
6) Even if you hate needles, you can opt to get vaccinated with a nasal spray, although they usually reserve this for children.
7) Although last year's vaccine was a miss, that's no reason to skip out on this years, which is predicted to be particularly effective. And again with little to no side-effects, there's only gains to be had here. And those gains are coming through the flu season intact.
8) My lab is located in a building connected to Foothills Hospital in Calgary. Plus my boyfriend is a Doctor, I am literally surrounded by potential contamination with flu virus.
9) Since development of an influenza vaccine, deaths from the flu have dropped by 99%. Very few things in medicine are as effective as vaccinations at saving lives.
So go out and get your vaccine, the government of Canada has ordered 12 million doses, so you shouldn't have any problem getting your hands on one.
Oh and speaking of hands, just because you're vaccinated against a couple strains of Influenza, it's still definitely best to keep on washing your hands. Just saying!
You can read/learn more about the seasonal flu vaccine here (gov Canada resourse) and here (Center for Disease Control).
Still not convinced? Maybe BuzzFeed can convince you.