Fever, headache, sore throat, congestion (of the nasal not the traffic kind)–it all sounds so easy. Having experienced the early symptoms of the flu when the Antiplanner was still in St. Louis on Saturday, then getting hit particularly hard on Sunday, I can testify that the flu is no picnic. So I have to wonder: should I have gotten a flu vaccine earlier this season?
If the vaccine were certain to have prevented this bout of sickness, the answer is most likely “yes.” But the vaccine doesn’t protect against all strains of the flu–the chances of still getting the flu after getting the vaccine may be as high as 40 percent.
On the other hand, the vaccine has enough mercury in it that the State of Washington has had to suspend its legal limits in order to make the vaccine available. A 40 percent chance of still getting sick but a 100 percent chance of having a toxic chemical injected into your bloodstream doesn’t sound good.
The Centers for Disease Control, of course, says that the mercury is safe. However, they also seem to be more interested in interrupting the chain of infection than in protecting the health of any one individual. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.
I feel bad if I infected anyone with the flu on my way home from St. Louis. But are we such a primitive society that we still inject people with mercury, an extremely toxic element for which there is limited treatment? Next flu season, I’ll see if my memory of this disease outweighs my worries about mercury toxicity.