| 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 idiots 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 idiots 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.
Vaccination against influenza is slightly more complicated than other vaccines. The prevalence of the virus and its many strains (as well as seasonal variants) make vaccination quite tricky. The goal of a vaccination program 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 relatively effective, as flu vaccination lessens the risk of flu by between 40 to 60 percent during flu season.
When you take the jab, common side effects include 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 adverse reactions 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.
- "Flu Vaccine Safety Information", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention'. Retrieved on July 29, 2021.