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Sophia Q


8 questions I'm weighing as I decide whether to get a flu shot

I have bad seasonal allergies, so my doctor typically advises me to get the flu shot before winter is in full swing. I probably will, but I find myself dallying. Here are some questions going through my mind as I reflect.

This list is entirely personal, but some of the below points have probably crossed many people's minds. It's interesting to think about how everyday concerns have impacts on public health, which isn't limited to hard science.

    1. Is it free?

    Blugh and now I have to look into the details of my health insurance. What a pain.

    2. Can I get an appointment easily?

    Places like CVS make it easy enough to schedule appointments online, so probably.

    3. How long will the appointment take, and will I have to wait a long time?

    I really don't want to show up to my appointment and have to wait 1+ hour(s) to get a shot.

    4. Will it work?

    I know the flu shot isn't very effective some years. Getting a shot only to have it not work wouldn't be ideal.

    5. What are the risks of getting it?

    Based on my reactions in the past, probably just a slightly sore arm.

    6. What are the consequences of not acting (i.e. not getting the shot)?

    While I'm not guaranteed to get the flu, if I do get it I wouldn't enjoy it...

    7. Do I need this?

    Similar to the previous question. My doctor is pretty adamant that my allergies are severe enough that the positives of the vaccine outweigh any risks.

    8. Are there any unknowns I should be considering?

    People who question vaccines often mention that they may cause unknown long-term side effects. Fortunately, I think the flu shot is pretty innocuous in this regard.

    9. BONUS: One question I'm not asking-- Will it hurt?

    I really think fear of needles is a big reason people avoid getting shots. After several years of allergy shots I'm pretty used to needles, so I don't fear them.

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