By Noor Lobad – 1851 Contributor
Flu season is officially upon us, as is the subsequent long-standing debate regarding whether or not the flu vaccine should be made mandatory. This year, tensions between those with opposing views are further heightened due to COVID-19, with pharmaceutical companies racing to emerge with a vaccine safe and widely-tested enough for mass distribution.
The Influenza virus is one of the few in existence that mutates so often it requires a new vaccination every year. The CDC estimates the vaccine reduces the risk of contracting the flu by roughly 61 percent.
Perhaps the most pervasive argument against getting the flu vaccine is that it poses harmful side effects. Like all vaccines, the flu vaccine does come with the risk of side effects — the most prevalent ones being soreness, headache, nausea, and no, not autism. In addition to the ableist implications of this particular objection to the flu shot, it also lacks any credibility.
The idea that the flu shot causes autism in children has been debunked by numerous scientific studies conducted since the claim’s iteration in 1998. Mandatory annual vaccinations are the nation’s best bet at ensuring herd immunity, which would serve to protect us all.
In short, getting your flu shot is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from illness, while also demonstrating consideration for others – an invaluable gesture, as we have all learned from this intense year.