On the surface, the flu vaccine seems like a no-brainer. History has shown us influenza can be a devastating and lethal disease worth attempting to control if not eradicate. However, looking more closely, we find that these apparent no-brainers do, in fact, present complicated policy questions.
I stand by my support for the flu vaccine. Reasonable people might disagree -- and when they do, I will listen to them and encourage others to do likewise. Not so those who renounce reason altogether, and in its place offer only vitriol.
Familiarity breeds contempt, or at least complacency, and perhaps the annual return of influenza has induced that response. Perhaps that's why we seem to be dismissive of this germ, and overlook what a serious illness it can be. But that tendency is at our peril.
A free website and mobile app -- called Flu Near You -- helps people find nearby places to get a flu shot, enrolls people to act as flu watchdogs, and allows them to track flu activity in their neighborhood so they can protect their loved ones.
Young people can learn to act in the overall interest of society. If they are made to understand the flu's risks and benefits and the idea of herd immunity, they may be motivated to get vaccinated for someone else's benefit.
It's the season of Halloween, or maybe Dia de Los Muertos, and besides carving pumpkins, loading up on mini-bags of peanut M&Ms and thinking lots about the dead, we also pause at this time of year to, sort of, celebrate our fears.
Vaccinations are a medical procedure and should be subject to the same standard of evidence and rigorous scientific inquiry before strong recommendations are made for their global application by government institutions.
Make sure you get the flu shot without any other simultaneous vaccines. Why? Because scientists haven't studied what the side effects might be when the flu shot is given at the same time as any other vaccines.