Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{November 7, 2007}   Flu Shot Bribery

On my way to purchase a celebratory1 extra-hot-soy-mocha-with-whip yesterday, I walked past a grizzly scene in the hallway. People rolling up their sleeves to voluntarily be stabbed in the arm with a needle. A NEEDLE!!

Ya, so, they are trying to get people at my workplace to get the flu shot. Getting the flu shot at this hallway-based “clinic” will serve as your entry into a draw for:

  • Running Room gift certificates
  • a digital camera
  • an iPod
  • fancy pants treatment at Spa Utopia
  • a 3 hr charter sailboat trip2

This presents a conflict for me – a conflict between my desire for free stuff and my sheer terror of being stabbed with a needle. In this case, however, I’m coming down firmly on the side of “for the love of god, don’t stab me in the arm!!!” But it’s not just that I would like to avoid blubbering like a little baby, as I usually do when confronted with a needle, in front of co-workers. Generally speaking, I’m in favour of vaccines. I’ve had my MMR, tetanus and all those other delightful stabs in the arms that prevent much more painful conditions. But I’m not overly confident in the flu shot. The thing with the flu virus is, it mutates. A lot. And so every year when they design the flu vaccine, they try to predict what this year’s flu will be. Sometimes they get it right (or at least close), but other times, not so much. As a healthy, immune competent adult, I don’t feel it’s worth getting a needle, possibly getting the “flu-like symptoms” as a side effect3, all for a vaccine that might be against a strain of flu that doesn’t even exist.

What do you think? Do you get the flu shot? Would you if your workplace bribed you with fabulous prizes?

1Celebrating (a) finally, at 2:30 in the afternoon, getting through the backlog of email/snail mail I had upon returning from my trip and (b) being awarded 3 assists in my Sunday night hockey game, two of which I remember actually getting4.
2A three hour tour. A three hour tour.5
3They always make a point of saying that you can’t get the actual flu from the flu vaccine, since it’s not made from a live virus. But if you are getting “flu-like symptoms,” isn’t that pretty much just like having the flu?
4 In fairness, I got screwed out of an assist that I clearly made a few games ago that the ref didn’t record, so this just evens things up .
5Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Photo attribution: That photo of a big scary needle was stolen from this guy, from here. But it had a Creative Commons license on it, so it’s all good.

et cetera