|Needles are scary|
|Pricks against pricks|
A flu shot is a vaccine to prevent or lessen the effects of infection with the influenza virus. New vaccines are made available every year via the health care and disease control branches of one's government, like the CDC in the United States. Generally, these vaccines are pasteurized versions of the original viruses themselves. The body then creates antibodies from these templates that it circulates indefinitely.
Fun with flu
Flu shots are also a great topic to bring up in arguments with fools who don't believe in evolution because it's precisely due to evolution that the CDC releases a new round of flu vaccines yearly. One could call a creationist a hypocrite if said creationist has had more than one flu vaccine. This is generally not a good idea, since most of these nincompoops would rather forgo reasonable medicine (like flu shots) than be called a hypocrite, so this argument is best to be used as a last resort... or as mockery. Be warned — you will be charged with gotcha arguments if this is used on more than one quack. Doonesbury sums this up quite well, although the exact context of the comic was about bacteria and their resistance.
Influenza vaccination differs slightly from other vaccinations. Usually, vaccinations have exceptionally high effectiveness rates. The prevalence of the influenza virus and its many strains (as well as seasonal variants) make influenza vaccination quite unique. Although the goal of a vaccination program, of course, is not the prevention of disease in any one person, but rather herd immunity, which is accomplished with a high vaccination rate. Overall, the vaccine is effective, as flu vaccination lessens the risk of flu by between 40 to 60 percent during flu season. For instance, during the 2019-2020 flu season, over 7 million illnesses, 3 million medical visits, 100,000 hospitalizations, and 6,000 deaths were avoided solely due to vaccination in the United States.
Common side effects of the influenza vaccine include but do not limit to soreness, swelling, redness, nausea, headaches, muscle aches, fevers, and, periodically, fainting. These are mild side effects, and they are the most common. Severe side effects (such as paleness and wheezing) can occur, but they are extremely rare, and most happen a few minutes or hours after injection. The vaccine is still totally safe, so these side effects aren't something you should worry about.
- Doonesbury - creationism
- World Health Organization. (2012). Vaccines against influenza WHO position paper — November 2012 = Note de synthèse de l’OMS concernant les vaccins antigrippaux — novembre 2012. Weekly Epidemiological Record = Relevé épidémiologique hebdomadaire, 87 (47), 461 - 476. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/241993
- "Vaccine Effectiveness: How Well Do Flu Vaccines Work?", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 11, 2021
- "How Effective is the Flu Vaccine?", Koenig Debbie, WebMD. Published September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
- "Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical visits, and Hospitalizations Averted by Vaccination in the United States — 2019–2020 Influenza Season." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Sept 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden-averted/2019-2020.htm.
- "Flu Vaccine Safety Information", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on July 29, 2021.