As a healthcare marketer, the number of excuses that exist for not vaccinating makes my job even more challenging. People need to look at the facts and not myths or beliefs when making life-saving decisions, such as flu vaccination. I will try my best to counter the top five reasons I hear for people declining to get a flu shot each year.
The Naturalist- These are people who believe their bodies are capable of fighting off the flu all by itself. While that is correct, why would you want to spend 3 days to a week in bed when you can forgo getting sick at all? Furthermore, even the flu can be life-threatening. More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year due to flu related complications.
The Skeptic- These are people who are doubtful that vaccines, in general, even work. The proof is in the pudding here. Prior to the bacterial meningitis vaccine in 1987 there were 20,000 cases in children under the age of 5. In 2009, the number of cases was just 31.
The Fatalist- These are people who believe that vaccines cause other diseases or allergies and are not safe. Again, look at the numbers. Death due to flu ranges between 3,000 –49,000 per year in the U.S., depending on the severity of the strain circulating that year. Do you really want to risk being included in those numbers?
The Traumatized – These are people who believe that they can catch the flu from getting a flu shot. Not true. In fact, most people who get the flu after receiving a flu shot is due to exposure before they were fully immunized. It takes 2 weeks after the shot for your body to build-up immunity to the flu. That is why it is so important to get your shot early in the season.
The Invincible- Working in college health, I see this a lot. These are people who believe nothing can stop them. They are the epitome of good health and hygiene. Though this may be true, being physically fit has not been shown to lessen your chances of catching the flu. And while good hand washing can reduce your exposure, are others around you as diligent?