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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:14

Video transcript

let's say a patient comes into clinic and they're trying to decide if they want to get the flu vaccine as with any decision they're probably gonna weigh the risks and the benefits of the flu vaccine and as health care workers it's really important that we understand these risks and benefits so that we can talk to our patients about it and help them make a educated decision so let's start out by thinking of the more common risks and benefits with the flu shot the most common risk is going to be pain at the site of injection or muscle soreness wherever the patient receives the inter muscular injection for some patients particularly those who are afraid of needles you also might hear reports of lightheadedness after receiving the flu shot so although these are the more common risks associated with the flu vaccine let's remember that they're not experienced by everyone not everyone thinks that the flu shot hurts not everyone is sore the next day and certainly not everyone feels like headed after getting the flu shot for patients who are particularly concerned about this if available you can offer them the nasal spray flu mist and this provides the same protection against flu without using needles so let's counter these common risks with the common benefits of the flu vaccine the most obvious of which of course is that you have a decreased chance of getting sick with the flu for patients who are particularly pain averse they don't want to get the flu vaccine because they think it's gonna hurt I would counter this by saying you know what flu hurts a lot you're stuck in bed for days it's completely miserable and if I was a patient making this decision I would go with the flu shot in this case because I would rather have soreness in the arm for a few days then be stuck in bed for three to five days let's turn our focus now to some of the more rare risks and benefits so in 1976 there were reports of muscle weakness after patients were getting the flu vaccine and we found out that this was because of something called guillain-barre syndrome and youngberry syndrome is a nerve problem that leads to to muscle weakness and although there was never any proof that the flu vaccine actually caused Gyan bere since 1976 we've been screening for this condition to make sure that it doesn't to severe complications in contrast to this rare risk we have some more some some less common benefits associated with the influenza vaccine and that is a decreased chance of hospitalizations and a discrete decreased chance of death as a result of the complications of the flu virus so if you remember from before flu can cause up to 200,000 hospitalizations every year and anywhere from twenty to forty thousand deaths every year so again if I was a patient trying to make this decision based on these more rare benefits and risks I would go with the flu shot in this case as well because I would much rather avoid hospitalization and death if at all possible so these are some considerations to think about on an individual level but another important consideration is the impact that the flu vaccine has on on the community what happens to this patients family members or their co-workers or classmates if your patient is a healthcare worker how does the flu vaccine affect their patients well there's no risk involved in getting a flu vaccine when you think about it from the perspective of a family member if you get vaccinated it's not going to affect your family member in the negative way it can really only affect your family members in a positive way and that's because if you're less likely to get infected by the influenza virus you're also less likely to spread it and we call this herd immunity herd immunity protects those around you your close contacts and as a result it's definitely a benefit of becoming vaccinated so when we think about all these benefits together I think it's pretty clear to see that the benefits outweigh the risks and that getting vaccinated against the flu virus is a good decision