By Austin Wells
Every year, many people – students and adults alike – put off getting a flu shot or other vaccine. Thinking they don’t need it, won’t get sick, or just don’t get around to it, they risk their health year after year, when getting vaccinated is an easy process that can help keep them safe.
However, some people argue against vaccinations, saying that they cause other complications, the main one being autism. However, this claim has repeatedly been debunked by reputable scientists and doctors in numerous studies, though this has done little to stop the claims from coming forth.
Other arguments include that people should have the right to maintain their health themselves and not have anyone interfere, for religious reasons, and because they are lazy or stubborn. All of these reasons cause far more harm to people than good.
Vaccinations are one of the greatest inventions of the modern era and an indicator of the importance of medicine and science in society.
Be it laziness or paranoia, many people endanger themselves by not getting vaccinated. According to Statistics Canada, influenza (the most common flu strain) is responsible for over 10,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths every year, with influenza and pneumonia combining to be the eighth leading cause of death in Canada.
Worryingly, Stats Canada also reported that only 37 per cent of adults aged 18-37 were vaccinated in 2015 and 2016, which is far below the 80 per cent immunization coverage that the government was hoping to reach. This number is extremely alarming.
Vaccines have a great track record, eradicating smallpox and polio in North America and helping to greatly reduce the deaths caused by tetanus, hepatitis and the H1N1 flu strain, among others. The 2010 H1N1 virus breakout caused 18,000 deaths worldwide, but the presence of a vaccine meant that only 428 deaths were reported in Canada. While this is a low number, it could be even lower if more people around the country were motivated to vaccinate themselves and their families.
Vaccinations are important because there is no negative to getting them, as side effects are extremely rare to the point of being almost non-existent. Avoiding the flu, especially from the perspective of a student or someone working a full-time job, is important, as getting sick could result in you missing time or reducing your effectiveness at whatever your assigned task is.
Vaccinations are a quick, easy and inexpensive way to make sure that you and your family don’t get sick. While the anti-vaccination stance has existed as long as vaccinations have, the number of vaccinations is sure to increase with time as medical advancements continue to be made to prevent even more dangerous diseases.