Daisy Bateman

Why I Get a Flu Shot

Today, my left shoulder is hurting and I have been asked repeatedly if I have ever had an adverse reaction to eggs. That’s right: I got my flu shot. There are various points of debate about the value of getting a flu shot, some of which are reasonable, others that are stupid. My reasons for getting it are twofold:

1) It is a truth universally acknowledged that having the flu is, for the most part, no more than a minorly unpleasant experience, somewhat mollified by the fact that you get to stay home and watch The Price is Right which, shockingly, Drew Carey is not doing that bad of a job at hosting. No, seriously; he seems to be genuinely happy for the contestants, and he manages to introduce Plinko with a totally straight face. So: the flu. Bad, but not that bad. Getting shots: also bad. What to do?

Well, the flu isn’t entirely innocuous. After all, it does kill thousands of people every year, mostly small children and the elderly.

“But, so what,” you say. “I am neither a small child or the elderly. How do I factor into this?”

First: You’re a terrible person. Honestly, who says something like that? Also, you aren’t considering the bigger picture here. Viruses don’t spread themselves*. They need vectors; in this case people, in others, mosquitoes. Which means that all of us, struggling in to work, curled up and whimpering in bed, yelling at the TV that there is no way that a two-pack of toilet bowl cleaner goes for $12.73, are all node points in the great epidemian** flow chart.

Which means, assuming that the people who determine these things*** guess correctly as to which flu strains are going to be percolating though our collective bloodstreams this winter, by getting the vaccine you can turn yourself into a dead end on that path, and the fewer people there are spreading the virus, the less it will be spread, and the lower the chances it will reach one of those sensitive people who you are not. And while, statistically, the contribution of one individual to this is almost vanishingly small,**** I figure it’s probably the right thing to do.

2) My mom makes me.

Actually, it’s mostly reason #2.

*At least, not until I finish my current “project.” Then they will be sorry they laughed at me! Oh yes, they will be sorry.
**Firefox doesn’t think this is a word; I think it should be.
***I’m pretty sure it’s done by Magic 8-Ball.
****Just like voting!

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