Vaccination may be a whole other can of worms


By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Formerly published by The Other Press. Jan. 14, 2014

If you have been vaccinated, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself. If modern medicine has taught us anything, it’s that it works 100 per cent of the time, right?

Nope. I know I’m being a bit cheeky about an important subject, but realistically, there isn’t much we can do. Sure, health is important, but can vaccines replace good habits? Nope again. Let’s not become so dependent on medicine that we forget the primary method of mitigating sickness: wash your hands, cover your mouth, and stay at home when you’re sick—everything your mom taught you.

Fine, if it makes you feel better to be vaccinated, go right ahead and get the shots, but don’t just dive headfirst, allowing someone to inject a magical elixir into your body. Understand yourself; recognize your own habits and health. If your job demands it, get the shot—be responsible, but there’s a reason shots aren’t mandatory. Health is subjective, because only you know how you feel. I’m not a doctor, but I can think for myself, and I know that while some people might need a shot to avoid the flu, others don’t.

Although the risk of flu outweighs the risk of vaccine allergies, I must still ask: what is going to protect you from the next disease? And the disease after that?

No doctor can guarantee 100 per cent that you won’t feel side effects from a “safe” vaccination. Headaches, fatigue, fever, and aching muscles are just some of the light symptoms vaccinations can cause. Yes, I know, that all seems rather minor compared to death from influenza. The 2009 pandemic was a scare, and the 2013-2014 situation is still calling a lot of attention to our health. Be aware, but don’t panic, and don’t cause other people to panic. Negativity is a poison in its own regards.

I’m not advocating that people should avoid vaccination. Medicine is good, but health is a balancing act, both physically and mentally. The more you anticipate sickness the easier it is to be subjected to the placebo effect, good or bad. So, does the vaccine even work or is it just insurance? You might think that the doctors have all the answers, but for a healthy person, they don’t have much to work with. Healthy thinking and living, to me, far outweigh the importance of getting shots. I get it, we are all busy and we need to make money, shots are the easy way to ensure healthiness. But invest in yourself longterm. Don’t allow an epidemic to force you to live better—just live better.

Shots or not, it’s always up to you. I repeat: I’m not a doctor, and I’m not you either. All I know is that health is a tricky thing and sometimes covering your ass may backfire. So relax. Just as car accidents happen every single day, so do illnesses.

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