ENG 1201 HN1
2 May 2014
Recommended Dose of Destruction
Everywhere you turn now there are signs and people pushing you toward an influenza vaccine. It seems that this particular vaccine has become a huge part of our media every year at the start of “flu season.” Most people give into this scare tactic media and go get this vaccine strictly off the recommendations with no questions asked. Now not only is it being highly recommended for the general public, but mandated for those working in the medical field. Can this possibly be a good idea though? To me getting something injected into my body without questioning it and a little research on it is totally ludicrous. In fact after just a bit of research I, myself, would never let anyone close to me with needle. I think that, for several reasons, that this should not be forced upon anyone, or even recommended.
To understand why this vaccine is a bad idea one should know what the influenza virus is and how it is different than other things that have been eradicated by vaccines. The flu virus is a coded genetic string of RNA, which is the virus itself. The RNA is incased in a capsule of proteins like most virus are. What makes the flu particularly strong is that the capsule is incased in a protein envelope that is also covered in certain protein spikes that aid in it being able to attach to the host cells (Leboffe, 635-639). “Flu viruses are constantly changing and mutating. These changes can happen slowly over time or suddenly. Antigenic drift is when these changes happen slowly over time. These changes happen often enough that your immune system can’t recognize the flu virus from year to year. Antigenic shift is when changes happen suddenly. This occurs when two different flu strains infect the same cell and combine. This may create a new flu subtype. Because people have little or no immunity to the new subtype, it can cause a very severe flu epidemic or pandemic” (how). Because there are so many different strains it is nearly impossible to eradicate the flu like vaccines have done for other illness, such as polio and Versailles.
The fact that the vaccine cannot cover all of the strains makes the vaccine essentially useless. “The influenza viruses in the seasonal flu vaccine are selected each year based on surveillance-based forecasts about what viruses are most likely to cause illness in the coming season” (seasonal flu). This basically means that they guess what flu virus might be circulating. No one has any way of knowing for sure what exact virus strain will infect the people that year. “Did you know that during the 2012-2013 flu season, the flu vaccine's effectiveness was found to be just 56 percent across all age groups reviewed by the CDC —in essence, the statistical equivalent of a coin toss. In seniors, aged 65 and over, the US flu vaccines were only nine percent effective”(Things to consider). So even with the vaccine there is a good chance that their guess is wrong and you will get sick from a different strain anyways.” The flu shot is only as good as the educated guesses of a group of vaccine researchers across the globe. Every February, they try to predict which flu viruses will work their evil during the next fall and winter. Their three top choices are put into the vaccine. The CDC claims that vaccine will be 70 to 90 percent effective against just those strains of flu... In the 2005-2006 seasons, in which the CDC said the match between the vaccine and the virus was good, a strain not included in the vaccine hospitalized 31 children in Houston.” (Clachar). Plus getting this shot, which may or may not protect you, can cause the same issues as actually getting the flu.
“There is a total lack of real evidence that young children even benefit from flu shots. A systematic review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo. Also the...