I have gone my entire life without receiving a single vaccination or flu shot. It isn’t because I’m afraid of needles or scared of getting sick. I simply don’t feel right about injecting foreign chemicals into my body. Every year around this time, I am confronted with flu shot ads and when I announce I don’t get vaccines, people look at me like I am crazy. I am happy to say for the last 24 years, I have fought off disease and sickness all on my own.
In fact, I just went to my doctor for a physical and he gave me a clean bill of health. He was surprised, however, that I had never received any vaccinations and proceeded to tell me why they were important. I once spoke with a nurse about getting a flu shot and she said she could not believe, with all the information out there, that I would choose to not get one. I have even had someone tell me I am putting them at risk by refusing, while they blow their nose and cover their cough.
I want to be able to respond to these statements, so I have done my research. There are four brands of the killed-virus injection of the flu vaccine: Fluarix, Fluzone, FluLaval and Fluvirin. They are all made through the same process. The flu virus is grown in chicken eggs with embryos inside. The viruses are then removed from the eggs, inactivated and split open using several chemicals. In the final vaccine solution, there is a mix of mercury, egg proteins, formaldehyde and monosodium glutamate. The side effects can be as small as allergic reactions or as serious as Guillain-Barré Syndrome which causes the body’s immune system to attack the nervous system. Guillan-Barré can cause temporary weakness, some paralysis that can last several weeks requiring intensive care, or could be potentially fatal. When a side effect of a vaccine could cause me to be paralyzed or die, getting the flu and having a fever for a few days is worth it and avoiding a shot is completely normal.
Colds and flu will occur and if you can fight them off on your own, your immune system only gets stronger. Those who are willing to get the flu vaccine should know what they are being injected with so they can decide for themselves if they want to get vaccinated. After all, it is your body and one should never feel they have to do something just because someone else says they should have to.