Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Flu Shot Bribery

On my way to purchase a celebratory1 extra-hot-soy-mocha-with-whip yesterday, I walked past a grizzly scene in the hallway. People rolling up their sleeves to voluntarily be stabbed in the arm with a needle. A NEEDLE!!

Ya, so, they are trying to get people at my workplace to get the flu shot. Getting the flu shot at this hallway-based "clinic" will serve as your entry into a draw for:



  • Running Room gift certificates

  • a digital camera

  • an iPod

  • fancy pants treatment at Spa Utopia

  • a 3 hr charter sailboat trip2
This presents a conflict for me - a conflict between my desire for free stuff and my sheer terror of being stabbed with a needle. In this case, however, I'm coming down firmly on the side of "for the love of god, don't stab me in the arm!!!" But it's not just that I would like to avoid blubbering like a little baby, as I usually do when confronted with a needle, in front of co-workers. Generally speaking, I'm in favour of vaccines. I've had my MMR, tetanus and all those other delightful stabs in the arms that prevent much more painful conditions. But I'm not overly confident in the flu shot. The thing with the flu virus is, it mutates. A lot. And so every year when they design the flu vaccine, they try to predict what this year's flu will be. Sometimes they get it right (or at least close), but other times, not so much. As a healthy, immune competent adult, I don't feel it's worth getting a needle, possibly getting the "flu-like symptoms" as a side effect3, all for a vaccine that might be against a strain of flu that doesn't even exist.

What do you think? Do you get the flu shot? Would you if your workplace bribed you with fabulous prizes?

1Celebrating (a) finally, at 2:30 in the afternoon, getting through the backlog of email/snail mail I had upon returning from my trip and (b) being awarded 3 assists in my Sunday night hockey game, two of which I remember actually getting4.
2A three hour tour. A three hour tour.5
3They always make a point of saying that you can't get the actual flu from the flu vaccine, since it's not made from a live virus. But if you are getting "flu-like symptoms," isn't that pretty much just like having the flu?
4 In fairness, I got screwed out of an assist that I clearly made a few games ago that the ref didn't record, so this just evens things up .
5Sorry, I couldn't resist.


Photo attribution: That photo of a big scary needle was stolen from this guy, from here. But it had a Creative Commons license on it, so it's all good.

6 comments:

Rebecca said...

I haven't had a flu shot in a long time, mostly because I haven't had the flu in a long time (in my head, that makes perfect sense). I don't like needles, but I will have them if I need to.

Would I do it if my workplace bribed me? No, just because giving me stuff (or the chance at stuff) is not a good reason to make me do it if I don't want to do it in the first place. That's just how I roll.

therese said...

Hell's no! Not being a fan of needles myself...it's not a really tough choice to make. I agree that having "flu-like symptoms" is equally as bad as having the flu...if not worse, since you likely wouldn't have felt crappy if you didn't do something crappy like let someone stab you in the arm with something that's supposed to protect you from feeling crappy! Ha...anyhow, I was one of few at my old workplace to shun the flu shot...and three guesses as to who didn't get the flu and who did...and we're not talking "flu-like symptoms" following the shot either! =P

Kalev said...

I think flu shots are a horrible, horrible idea. As you say, the flu mutates a lot and their guesses aren't a sure thing. I think it's important for healthy people to avoid getting unnecessary vaccines because hey, seems a lot like using antibiotics when you don't need to. I mean no, not exactly the same, but seriously this notion that we can get a shot for everything?

If a vaccine is actually for-sure effective and say lasts 5, 10, 20 years, yes, I'll get it. But something that may or may not protect you for not even an entire year? And if it's so great, why are they trying to bribe you to get? I guess an argument can be made for healthcare professionals but again, unless you're at serious risk for dying from the flu, isn't it ultimately better to get it and fight it off than to maybe immunise yourself from it?

And that's ignoring the "flu-like" symptoms one might get. I'm just very against enforced anything when the anything hasn't been proved effective.

Stacia said...

The three years I got the flu were the three years I didn't get the flu shot (which includes right now, this very minute). So for free stuff, I would get it. But I also have 13 ear piercings and two naval piercings, so needles don't present a problem for me.

tanya (aka netchick) said...

ROTFL! Beth, you kill me! "A three hour tour. A three hour tour."

I've blogrolled ya!

I agree with you, it's often not worth it to get the shot, in my humble opinion, but that said, my Dad is very sick with Cancer, and getting the flu might mean that I don't get to see him in his last days. That alone makes me get the shot this year.

ps: I sometimes wish I worked in a bigger office with bribes like that!

Beth said...

Sounds like I'm not alone in the land of needles-are-scarier-than-free-stuff-is-appealing! (Stacia and her 13 piercings notwithstanding! ;-) )

Aww, thanks for the blogroll, Tanya! Sorry to hear about your dad. A situation like that is the kind of thing that would make me want a flu shot too.