By Dr. Clare Brehmer, Specialist Registrar in Public Health.
This Winter, Telford & Wrekin Council offered free flu vaccinations to all employees. We asked those getting vaccinated* why they chose to – and the results were heartwarming.
I get the flu jab because it reduces the chances of me being ill and also me passing it on to other people, including my grandchildren. I always make sure I have it a couple of weeks before we go on holiday as we usually fly at the end of October and planes are notorious for spreading diseases. The virus is weakened, so it won’t cause flu – it also won’t stop you getting it as there are so many different strains, but it will reduce the chances and increase the odds in your favour. If you pass flu on to someone with a weakened immune system it can be life-threatening.
I have paid for the flu jab for at least the last 10 years. I am now 65 so have the added bonus of getting it free! I have never had an adverse reaction to the jab and it doesn’t hurt.
For anyone worried about the jab making them ill, I would suggest that it is easy to draw conclusions from coincidence. For example, my partner went to the doctor a couple of years ago and while she was there she asked for the flu jab. The doctor said they had run out, so she could come back in a week. 2 or 3 days later, my partner came down with flu – I mean real, shaking, shivering flu. If the doctor had not run out of the vaccine, she would have been convinced that the flu jab had caused it!
My Mum is disabled so she relies on me being around for her – she is also in one of the risk groups but is unable to have the vaccination herself. I thought if I had the vaccine it would reduce the risk of me catching the flu and passing it on to her. I was also conscious that my team is relatively small and if I was struck down with flu, there would be a negative impact on the remaining team picking up my work while I was off sick.
I would advise other people to just go for it! I was nervous going in, but after some reassurance, I discovered it was quick and easy and the injection didn’t feel any worse than a little scratch. My arm was heavy for the rest of the day but there were no adverse effects. I’m glad I did it!
I had the flu vaccination because I have young children and my youngest isn’t eligible for it.
To others who are interested in getting the jab but aren’t sure or are dragging their feet, I would say- why wouldn’t you want to be vaccinated, especially if it was free?! Having any cold/flu with young children at home is hellish so that should be motivation alone!
I have had the flu vaccination each year, including paying for it, as I am not yet in one of the “at risk” groups who get it free on the NHS. I think it is a very sensible precaution, as I want very much to protect my family members as well as just myself from any illness – wherever possible.
Yes, you might get a bit of a sore arm for a day or two and yes you might even feel a bit under the weather for a couple of days – but I view that as proof that the vaccination is stimulating an immune response. Full blown flu is much, much worse. After all, just think…how would you look after your children or your elderly parents or walk the dog if you can’t lift your head off the pillow for days because you have flu?
The reason I wanted to get it was because I planned to spend time over Christmas with my 94 year old grandfather and I wanted to protect him. He’s the one I’m thinking of when I get my vaccination.
I had a flu vaccine at my Doctors Surgery as I have asthma and I am advised to get this every year. It only hurts for a second and yes your arm gets a bit achy but better that than full blown flu!
I was always offered this by my previous employer so it just seems sensible to continue.
Having the jab is LOADS better than getting flu, it doesn’t give you flu and it doesn’t hurt (and I am a wuss with injections!). And it’s free. It also means that if you don’t have a jab and get flu, whilst flu might not kill you, you might pass it on to someone vulnerable who could die.
I didn’t have a particular reason to have it (e.g. not in regular contact with older people or those with other vulnerabilities) but it was convenient, free and painless – so why not?
To find out more about the flu jab, including whether anyone you know is in a high-risk group and how to access the jab click here.
*Please note – to respect peoples privacy, all submissions have been anonymised.