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This might sound like sacrilege, but it’s not hard to understand why over half of all people in the U.S. avoid getting the flu shot every year.
It’s a real pain—let’s just start there. Lots of people hate needles or are outright afraid of them, and that’s reasonable enough. Very few people want a stranger to poke them in the arm with something sharp. Sometimes you even get fatigue, or aches in your muscles. Then, to add insult to injury, you sometimes end up coming down with the flu anyway. What was even the point? And they want you to do this every year? Voluntarily?
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Nope, no way. Most years you don’t get the shot, and you never get sick. And the flu isn’t even that bad! So why bother?
These kinds of reactions are common, because misunderstandings about influenza and the flu shot are common. The trouble is that the standard answers aren’t all that compelling, even if they’re true. We all hear the same evidence in favor of vaccinating every single year:
Flu - Flu - Shot
You can’t get the flu from the flu shot.
The flu can kill people, even healthy adults.
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It takes a few weeks for the vaccine to kick in, so if you get sick right after the shot it was just a coincidence.
If you still get the flu, the vaccine helps you fend off life-threatening complications.
Reasons - Measles - Mumps - Polio - Diseases
These are all absolutely true, and they’re all solid reasons to get vaccinated. But for many, they’re just not that convincing. Measles? Mumps? Polio? Those all sound like diseases to avoid at all costs, and you don’t need even to get the vaccine every year to do it. But the flu? Most people’s anecdotal evidence will tell them that they’re not likely to get a really serious case. When polled, 48 percent of those not planning on getting...
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