OUR VIEW: To get a flu shot, or not?

By Daily News • Last Updated 9:59 am on Friday, September 14, 2012

The Mid-Michigan District Health Department is giving flu shots at $30 a pop to anyone willing to bare their arm at the Stanton office.

The service is appreciated by some, but is greeted with skepticism by others.

The announcement of the flu clinic schedule resulted in a “feverish” debate on The Daily News Facebook page.

In favor of the flu shot

Denise Ramirez-Tatum says she has gotten a flu shot every year since 1987, along with the rest of her family.

“We believe in them,” she said. “Also, my husband had a brother die because of complications from the flu, so we are very proactive in getting them every year and telling others to do so also.”

Gary Olthoff survived a traumatic experience that inspires him to get a flu shot every year now.

His son came down with the swine flu in 2009. Gary came down with pneumonia the following week and ended up in a coma for several weeks. He says he woke up paralyzed from the neck down and spent the next three months in the hospital and rehab.

“Time healed some of my problems, but many issues still are there and doctors told me the virus is permanently in my nervous system and it does flare up at least biweekly,” he said.

“So, yes, I now get the flu shot every year!” he declared.

Against the flu shot

Nicole van Schagen says she’s “never” gotten a flu shot.

“And I’ve gotten sick less times than everyone I know who takes them each year,” she said.

Kelly McDonald says neither she, nor her husband or children get the flu shot — and they have never gotten the flu.

“I take great care in making sure my family eats right, gets enough rest and practices good hygiene,” she said. “A healthy body is the best defense!”

Angie Burkholder Wieck says she was required to get a flu shot in the past, and she got the flu that same year.

“Never had it before that or after that,” she observed.

No choice

Some people don’t have a choice when it comes to getting a flu shot, depending on where they work.

Aimee Johnson said she receives a flu shot every year since she started working in a hospital.

“Our hospital is mandating that we receive the influenza vaccine,” she said.

However, Ms. Johnson says she hasn’t had the flu since becoming a nurse 12 years ago.

“I also practice common precautions, such as handwashing,” she said. “I work in an ICU with very sick patients and I elect to receive the flu shot to protect myself, my patients and my two young children.”

Flu statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the United States, on average, more than 200,000 are hospitalized as a result of flu complications and about 36,000 die from the flu.

The 2012-2013 flu vaccine being offered through the Mid-Michigan District Health Department will protect against three different types of flu viruses: H3N2, influenza B and H1N1. It is effective throughout the entire flu season, which can begin as early as October and last as late as May.

Anyone with questions about the flu vaccine is encouraged to call the health department at (989) 831-5237 for more information.

Whether you choose to get a flu shot or not, we encourage everyone to use common sense when it comes to hygiene and we wish everyone good health.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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