Get Vaccinated against this Deadly Virus

Image by sven-kristian wolf, via Flickr

 

“We didn’t see it coming […] and in the next 48 hours, they are gone.” – Franki Andersen

“This stuff kills – I’ve lost my soulmate and the mother of [my] children.” – Daniel Foulds

“Our family never really got sick. We were the kind of that family that said this will never happen to us.” – Caylee Donovan

“I didn’t give it a thought it could be this serious.” – Emil Hall

“Get vaccinated. You don’t want this.” – Peter Wilkinson

 

Even if you don’t know these people, what do these provoking words remind you of?

They all share something in common – a tragic story. A desperate message.

Don’t ignore the signs, like how they did, and like how they never will again.

About a deadly virus, one that comes around every year in every country.

The flu.

 

Have you noticed that during the flu season every year, hospitals, pharmacies and clinics place signs outside their doors with messages of ‘Annual flu vaccination available here’?

What’s their aim – to remind or to encourage people to get it, perhaps?

Result: most people disregard these signs, usually thinking “I’m healthy, I won’t get sick”. Or perhaps they choose not to because of some misconception they’re holding…

 

But rather than talk about why you don’t get the yearly flu shot, let’s talk about why you should.

 

No matter how healthy you are, you can still get the flu. So if you get vaccinated, you will be protected from the flu. Here’s how it works…
Image by Author

 

Flu Vaccinations are Inactivated before Administration

Every year, new strains of the flu virus come out, due to their high mutation rate which grants them abilities to evade last year’s vaccines. Scientists grow these latest flu strains, and when the flu season is about to start, they inactivate the eggs of the influenza virus strains. These egg-based inactivated viruses of the circulating strains matching that year’s season is then injected into you as the vaccine, which your body is very thankful for. Once this basically dead virus is injected into you, your immune system activates. It begins to combats this foreign injection by mass-producing our resident soldiers against foreign invasions, the antibodies.

It takes around 2 weeks for a healthy adult to complete producing antibodies, so after that period, you have immunity against the flu. These antibodies confer you resistance, defending you against any live flu virus attacks. So you can’t get the flu after the 2 week period until 3-4 months later when the active flu season ends along with your immunity.

 

After vaccination, it is still possible to get sick!
Image by Author

 

Even if you get sick during that period of immunity, you might not have the flu. Likely, you have the very similar disease of the common cold. Maybe that last time you got sick soon after getting vaccinated was actually a cold? Many people mistake the common cold for the flu, as both are virus-induced, with symptoms of sneezing, sniffing and an occasional fever. You might not be one of them – but I do admit, I sometimes get confused between them. I mean, a cold is basically just a milder flu…

But that’s just symptom-wise. The viral strains are very different, and needless to say, the flu is deadly.

 

On top of being deadly, the flu is highly contagious – it spreads easily, especially to elderly people or young children who are more vulnerable. So you should get vaccinated. It’ll not only protects you, but it’ll also stop you from spreading it to people you often interact with – like your friends or family.

They sure don’t want to catch the flu off you!

And I’m sure you don’t want to catch it yourself and suffer, or even see your loved ones suffer through a hospitalisation experience which could end in death.

 

The people who I quoted at the start did, and look at how they grieved.

I hope you got their message.

 

 

 


7 Responses to “Get Vaccinated against this Deadly Virus”

  1. loik says:

    Yes, that is entirely correct! I didn’t mention it in the blog due to the word restriction and how I thought it would detract from the main message about how serious the flu actually is. From memory, there was actually around a 30% decrease in hospitalisations for people who actually got the flu after vaccination compared to those who got hospitalised without vaccination. So, thank you for your comment!

  2. Thomas Hueneburg says:

    True what you are saying! I would like to add a bit more value to the story, people might get sick from flu still even though they are vaccinated. However, the effects of suffering in a similar manner compared to being not vaccinated is less; you will have more protection. There is no 100% guarantee that you will be protected because the seasonal flu is viral and changes every year. Nobody knows what to expect and the vaccines are based on previous years and prognosis made by the WHO and virologist. I may highly recommend, get a shot and be protected.

  3. chiengr says:

    Very important message! Knew someone who contracted the flu few years back and was hospitalised. Never heard of its crazy effects before (I was also guilty of believing the flu is just a cold). Cute drawings too!

  4. loik says:

    Yes, that’s very true! I think a lot of people choose not to get the flu shot simply because they assume that the fly is just a slightly worse cold, without realising how serious they are. Like you said, there are many complications associated with the flu – especially leading to sepsis and lung infection, both of which can cause death.

  5. Hanwen Hou says:

    Nice topic! It’s very important not to underestimate the flu virus, the influenza virus not only can damage the lung tissues directly but also can predispose you to secondary bacterial pneumonia which could be fatal. Let alone the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus!

  6. Liujun Wang says:

    Nice beginning sentences from various people’s arguments on Vaccinations. Your introduction on the process of immunisation is interesting with the graph explaining possible respond. But, I have a question on how scientists preserve vaccinations. When you talk about “inactivate the eggs”, do you mean really the “egg” from chicken? And, is there a specific environment to preserve them?

  7. LJM says:

    Good post + important topic. Nice drawings too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *