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Video transcript

Voiceover: Despite the fact that a highly effective influenza vaccine is available every year, some people choose not to get vaccinated and as a result they're not protected against the circulating influenza strains. So, whether you're out in the community at a vaccine clinic or even talking to family and friends you might come across some excuses as to why people aren't getting vaccinated. So, I thought it might be helpful to address the top five excuses that we've heard in the past and how to best address them. So, the first excuse you might hear is, "I never get sick. I'm not getting vaccinated this year because I've never had the flu." Well, to this I would say people who have never been in a car accident still wear their seatbelts right? Why wait for a bad thing to happen when you can prevent it from happening in the first place. It doesn't make sense to me to wait to get sick with the flu when there's a safe and effective vaccine that you can get at the beginning of the flu season and protect yourself for months. Okay, so another excuse you might hear is, "I got the flu shot last year, and it made me sick. I felt awful afterwards." So, some people can have adverse reactions to the influenza vaccine. So, after making sure that this person didn't have an adverse reaction like an allergic response or some other kind of complication, I would say, "Well, imagine if a completely inactivated, or weakened virus in the influenza vaccine was enough to get your immune system to put up a fight and make you feel sick, imagine what a live strong virus could do to you. Getting sick with the circulating virus will make you feel much worse, and so it's best to prevent yourself from getting a bad illness. Another excuse you might here is, "The flu shot didn't work. I got sick anyway." First I would say, "Well, are you sure that you were sick with the influenza virus?" Flu-like symptoms can be caused by tons of different kinds of viruses and a few bacterial species as well. The influenza vaccine is not a magic bullet. It doesn't prevent all kinds of infections from happening. But perhaps you were infected with an influenza virus that got you sick. Remember the influenza vaccine only protects against a few strains, the most common strains that will be circulating in that season. So it's possible that you got sick with another circulating strain that wasn't covered by the vaccine. So, with this information some people might say, "Wait a minute, if I can still get sick from the influenza virus then what's the point?" Like I said, the annual vaccine protects against the most common influenza strains for that particular season. So it reduces your chance of getting sick significantly. Does it eliminate the risk completely? Well, no, but that doesn't mean that it's not worthwhile. So the most common excuse we hear is, "The flu shot hurts. I don't want a needle in my arm. I just don't think it's worth it." For people who are particularly pain averse, like I said before, there is a nasal spray available that doesn't involve needles at all. So, they can still protect themselves without getting injected. However, you know the flu shot if you are going to get vaccinated with the intramuscular injection the flu shot does hurt, but what hurts even more is getting sick with the flu. I would much rather be sore for a few days than be stuck in bed missing school, missing work and potentially putting the people around me at risk of getting infected. With this information hopefully we can combat some of the excuses and get more people vaccinated and protected against the flu.