Protecting those who are most precious to us
This year influenza vaccination is especially important to me – I have a grandson! This precious little being is still too young to receive the influenza vaccine (not yet 6 months old), so he is relying on the people around him like me for protection. All our family has been vaccinated and his parents are encouraging all of their friends to be as well.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that, as a physician trained in the speciality of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, I am an ardent supporter of influenza vaccination. For all of the complaints about the vaccine – need to repeat every year, not always an exact match for the circulating strains, not 100% protection – the fact of the matter remains that it works. It not only lowers the chance that I’ll get influenza (which is reason enough), but also means that I won’t be passing the virus onto to anyone else.
Of course other people important to me are protected by my being vaccinated as well. My wife and I are blessed by having her parents still living close by to us. Both in their 80’s and regular influenza vaccinees themselves, they are at risk for more severe disease and complications if infected. Obviously they will have to die sometime, but I simply could not tolerate it if the cause was a preventable one like influenza. I want to have them around for as long as we can.
Every year the question of whether to get the ‘flu shot comes up in another group – my old-timers hockey team, most of whom do get it. There’s a few hold-outs (maybe a few too many knocks on the old noggin), but I’ll persist – it’s a team game after all.
Who’s on your team and are they protected?