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Immunity Community

The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares why he believes in the flu shot.

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Why does everyone around here have a lollipop stuck in their mouths?

The nurse came to GUIDEPOSTS today, as she does every October, bearing the seasonal flu vaccine. The company pays. Anyone who wants a shot gets it. And a lollipop.

The nurse and the shots must remind everyone of grade school or something because people begin to act silly, pretending the shot hurts, trying to cut in line, taking more than one lollipop and generally acting out. 

I have a few friends who don’t believe in getting the flu shot because they think it makes them sick (not true) or that they are somehow immune to flu (totally not true).

Later in the year, when they are immobilized by sickness, I try not to remind them that they could have gotten the shot, and I understand some people just aren’t that comfortable with this or any other vaccine. It’s a free country.

My mom was one of those maddening people who claimed that she was never sick a day in her life. Sometimes she would say that she was a Christian Scientist, though she wasn’t. If she felt something coming on, her cure was to get down on her hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor. I’m not kidding.

She always got a flu shot.

“Well,” she’d explain, “I’m not worried about being sick myself but what if I give it to someone else?”

That was my mother’s unique form of both reason and denial: I’ll get a flu shot if I can convince myself I’m really doing it for others. Otherwise she would have felt selfish. Why should she get the shot when someone else might need it more?

I, however, inherited no such qualms. Unlike some of my friends I’m a believer in the seasonal vaccine (the swine flu version isn’t being widely offered here yet but I’ll probably sign up for that too). 

If it was good enough for my mom, it’s good enough for me, and I don’t plan to be scrubbing any floors this flu season. I pray you don’t have to either, shot or no shot.

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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