Hank's Take: Do flu shots work?

- I went into CVS for a flu shot today if only for a story. I haven't had the flu that I can remember, and never did get a shot that I know of.  Maybe I had something to learn.   “What’s the most challenging part of your job?” asked CVS Pharmacist Sam Guirguis.  As I began to answer, he plunged the needle into the meaty part of my upper arm.   It was over before it began.   Sam says the vaccinations address the most probable strains to cause problems this season.   “The CDC determines every year what are the most likely strains going to be out there – that are going to be causing the most outbreak.  Once they determine that – then the formulation is prepped and made in the August September time frame – that’s when it becomes available.”

Fine.  But I’m a known procrastinato, I don’t like using my health insurance, going to the dentist, doctor, any of it.   But Alec is just like me, and he was getting his shot.  “I don’t normally get sick,” said Alec, who came with his wife.  “It’s preventative, it’s covered under insurance, so… why not?

Sam adds that nobody goes to the doctor for this anymore.  He says any pharmacy now offers flu shots, adding that all it involves is filling out a form, giving your insurance coverage, and the shot.   Fifteen minutes tops.   I was almost convinced, but not quite.  The vaccine doesn’t cover all strains, and I thought I once heard you could get the flu from the shot.   Could that be true?   I went to Dr. Mike Cirigliano, who to me is the bottom line when it comes to medical knowledge.  “Nothing in life is a hundred percent, but something is better than zero,” boomed the good doctor from his Market Street office.  “So do it, protect yourself, protect your family.  And as far as getting the flu, it’s dead, you can’t get the flu from a dead thing.  You can get an immune response – you can get some local soreness – you might even get some muscle aches and a low-grade fever.   But that’s not the flu.”

Doctor Mike makes good points as always.    And outside of pure laziness, I’m out of reasons to not get it.   I guess I’m really doing it so I don’t get it and give it to my friends, co-workers, and family – that’s good enough for me.   Check me next year.  I’m Hank – and that’s my take.

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