To have it or not to have it?

The question pops up every single year: “are you having the flu shot?” “No.” “Noooo? Are you nuts? Why not?”

My answer is simple: I was always sicker with the vaccine than without it, and the same happened to Stefano (I don’t mean to imply that that happens to everyone, of course…but that’s been OUR experience). And so we haven’t had the flu vaccine in years, now (I think this might be our fourth year). But I’ve written about this in previous posts, so I won’t go on and on about it here…again!

Point is, if you’re in the midst of deciding whether or not to have the flu shot, please check out this article published just a few days ago in the British Medical Journal (I’ll see if I can get my hands on the full study)…

It provides us with some food for thought, or rather, some flu for thought (hehe): (note: at the end of this BMJ article, there is a direct link to the Dr. Doshi’s abstract).

Many thanks to Lori for posting the link on Facebook (Yes, I get some of my news from FB…indeed a SCARY thought! But I check out everything, as you can imagine, so I guess it’s okay 😉 ).


  1. Well, as someone who was born with an immune deficiency, I really do not feel I have a choice. I also receive the pneumovax, meningococcal vaccine and HIB, among others throughout my life (I am 62). This and other medical intervention has kept me alive since the age of 6 months of age. I do know that vaccines come with some risk, but feel the choice not to vaccinate only works in parts of the world where the majority of folks are in fact vaccinated. Also, one cannot dispute the overall benefit of vaccines throughout the world today. They are directly responsible for saving countless lives and suffering (smallpox being only one example of many). So, I often comment when I read such material and make what I feel is an informed choice when it comes to my own vaccination. If I did not have a compromised immune system, I believe I would choose not to get the flu shot (in addition to the others). I chose to have my children in Canada vaccinated for the usual diseases, but think that they also do not get the flu shot annually now that they are adults. Fortunately, they were born without my health issues. All the best to you, Margaret. I so enjoy your writing and have learned a lot over the years!

  2. I respectfully must disagree. Flu shots pose no risk today, as they are not live vaccines. So your sickness argument is no longer applicable. And they do HELP some people and protect against (at least) some infuenza illnesses; your article makes that clear. And exactly how much benefit there will be – and it could be high – will not be known until the flu season is upon us.

    1. Obviously, we all live in an uncertain world . (Hah! Philosophy One: Lesson 1…)
      At best, what we get in medicine, psychology, sociology and the like is just statistics. People have to realize that basic fact and not generalize.
      So, when you write: “Flu shots pose no risk today”, I find this assumption invalid in so far as it is ONLY a statistical truth. Who knows every single reaction to flu shots all over the world, short term, long term, placebo or nocebo effects…. I don’t mean to be personal…or rather, yes, I do mean to be personal: each and every one of us have to make their own choices and feel responsible for these; most people will read Margaret’s blog AND act according to their own “gut feelings”, not to what is written in the blog.
      What is written down here will comfort some and annoy others. And this is just fine.

  3. A number of years ago, when I was still in childrearing mode, I had the flu season from hell. I had the flu the entire fall and winter! I would be getting over one bout, and another would hit me. The following year i broke down and got a flu shot, did not get sick either from the shot, or the flu. And I have continued to get the shot every year since and have never had another flu episode, while my husband & daughter, who did not get the shot in the first few years did! (He now also gets the shot.). Now I realize this could all be superstitious – ie, maybe it was just all happenstance . But since I have absolutely no ill effects from the shot, I go for the jab yearly.

  4. It is interesting, and gives food for thought, what prof Doshi says about one more case of “disease mongering”.

  5. Margaret,
    About six years ago I had surgery, they would not release me from the hospital unless I took the flu shot, that night I had a raging fever and had to be readmitted to the hospital …I have NEVER nor will I get another one, and have not had the flu.
    I take plenty of Vitamin C and drink Fenugreek tea.

  6. AGREE 100% with the VIT C …as I mentioned last year LINUS PAULING and his theory of Vit C I put into practice almost 20 yrs ago, when I would get 1 or 2 colds or flu each year (working with children) and it works. The MOMENT you think you are getting a cold take 4000g, the next day 3000g and the next 2000g.
    If about 5-6 days later you think you are again getting sniffles etc, take 3000g, then next day 2000g and next day 1000g.
    It A L W A Y S knocks it on its head.

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