Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA students have conflicting views on flu shots


Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to better reflect the CDC findings on the usage and side effects of the flu vaccine injection. 

With flu season fast approaching, the UA nursing students have pitched their tents around campus, ready to dole out flu shots to all students seeking the immunity the shot can provide.  However, while some students are advocates for flu shots, others feel strongly against it.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the use of the flu shot and vaccine over the use of the live nasal spray for the 2016-17 flu season, and states that for every one age 6 months or older, the flu vaccine is the safest way to protect against the spread and contraction of the flu virus.

Ian Akins, a freshman majoring in political science, is a strong believer in taking such preventative measures, having received a flu shot every year since he can remember. The only year he missed getting one he just so happened to get the flu.

His deep belief in the flu shot comes from his grandmother.  

“She always felt safer knowing I was protected from the flu, so I just always got one,” Akins said.

However, he has suffered from the flu a few of times in his life.  In addition to the flu he had when he missed his shot, he has on a couple of occasions contracted a much weaker version of the flu due to a side effect of the shot.

Akins did mention that, despite being an advocate, he has only ever received flu prevention in the form of a shot, never the nasal spray. Nevertheless, he completely relies on the flu shot for protection, not taking any extra vitamins to boost his immunity.

Addressing the fear of the Center for Disease Control choosing the wrong strand of the virus for the flu shot, he said it does scare him, but even when they have chosen the wrong strand he has remained flu free.  

On the other hand, Lindsey Collins, a junior majoring in secondary education, feels strongly against receiving flu shots. In fact, she has not received one since she was seven years old.  

Her main reason for not taking part in flu shots is that she feels that after all of her research there are more negative points than positive ones.  

“The flu shot has highly toxic chemicals in it and many vaccines contain GMOS [according to my research],” Collins said. “The most effective flu shot only protects against four of the 144 subtypes of the flu virus.”

She said also worries about the many side effects of the flu shot, which include, fever, joint pain, and breathing problems. 

While the CDC cites fever and joint pain as potential side effects, there is no indication that breathing problems are a direct impact of the injection, but instead are the consequence of a sever allergic reaction to the injection, which is rare, according to the CDC.

Though the flu shot can have side effects, the CDC states that it is impossible to get the flu as a result of getting vaccinated – the vaccine injection contains a form of the virus meant to trick the body into believing it is the actual flu virus so the immune system can build its immunity.

Collins said she has never suffered from the flu and gives credit to the vitamins she faithfully takes to boost her immune system. Additionally, because she works with young children, she says she makes sure to wash her hands many times throughout the day.

While she said respects each individual’s decision concerning the flu shot, she just feels it is not the best form of flu prevention for her.  

Differences aside, both students agree that washing their hands often has been critical to staying flu free.

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