Research Proposal: Flu Vaccine Controversy

367 words | 2 page(s)

Every year in the fall, people must decide if they should obtain an influenza shot. For some, its a no-brainer. They get vaccinated every year and do not think about it. For others, the decision is more difficult. They have objections for one reason or another. Even scientists cannot agree about the necessity for everyone to receive the influenza vaccine. In this paper, the reasons for getting vaccinated and the arguments against vaccination will be discussed.

The arguments for getting vaccinated are straight forward. Everyone, even healthy adults, should be vaccinated, if only to keep from transmitting it to those who cannot fight it as effectively (Weintraub, 2012). The vaccine boosts general immunity, so even if it doesn’t protect against a specific strain, it will still help the body fight off illness (Weintraub, 2012). Since the virus is constantly changing, a viable market for the vaccine should be maintained to ensure that needs can be met if another pandemic occurs (Weintraub, 2012).

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People who disagree with the commonly accepted view, do so for varied reasons. Those with egg allergy cannot receive it because it is prepared in chicken eggs (Weintraub, 2012). Another safety issue, the vaccination contains toxins like thimerosal. Thimerosal contains mercury (Weintraub, 2012). Others decline on a religious basis, stating that the vaccine is not kosher. Many viruses have symptoms similar to influenza. Flu-like illnesses and influenza are often confused by the general public, making statistics skewed. Some scientists argue that the influenza is not as wide-spread as commonly believed (Weintraub, 2012). The most affected are the most vulnerable, those whose immune systems are compromised due to age or disease.

Research indicates that the vaccine may not be as effective in these populations (Weintraub, 2012). Perhaps the biggest problem in fighting influenza is that many strains of the virus exist in the world population. These strains mutate rapidly, making it difficult for scientists to keep up in developing new versions of the vaccine (Weintraub, 2012). Scientists who develop the flu vaccine are guessing as to what strains to protect against for the upcoming season (Chaikin, 2013). Lastly, scientists disagree about the effectiveness of the vaccine in healthy adults. Some research shows that hygiene measures perform better than vaccination, and they are less expensive (Weintraub, 2012).

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