Public health officials are facing yet another year of less than half the population getting the annual flu vaccination. Even more frustrating for them is the fact that not all healthcare workers submit to a flu shot, even though that could be putting patients at risk.
In addition to healthcare workers, officials say pregnant women are especially vulnerable to whatever strains of influenza are going around and still less than half of expectant moms get the shot, according to a report on MSNBC.
Vaccinations have taken a hit in the last 10 years, with so much suspicion and misinformation spread around the safety of immunizing babies and young children. Back in 2009, a mass effort to get the U.S. population immune to the H1N1, or swine flu virus, were somewhat successful. But since it didn’t turn in to a big tragedy, the interest flu shots appears to have dropped.
The report argues that flu shots are widely available and that, really, there’s no reason not to get one. But I’ll step in and argue here. When they set up the free clinics for the H1N1 shots, I got one and took my kids to get one too. But the shots aren’t free anymore, my insurance doesn’t appear to cover them and, well, they’re like $30 a pop. That’s $150 for the five people in my family. I mean, yes, their health is worth that — but, you know, it’s easy to take my chances. Frankly, it’s easy to just look away.
However! Last year I got the flu … on Thanksgiving. My dear sister was visiting and went ahead and took care of the meal, which I attended for about 30 minutes before going back to bed. A few days later, my husband was down. Basically, I’ll never not get the shot again.
Still, if health officials really want 100 percent compliance (or even over half), they need to make free shot clinics an annual event. Look, I’m just being the cheapskate with otherwise good insurance that I am. But some people really can’t swing the $30 fee.
What about you? Will you get the flu shot this year? Do you get it every year?