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Think Twice Before Shooting Up

By: Alistair Kyte

In September, some Canadian health experts were claiming that the seasonal flu shot many people took last fall actually put them at greater risk of acquiring the H1N1 flu when it initially hit this spring. With a second wave of H1N1 now under way, it’s raised questions about the practice of seasonal flu shots altogether.

The information has yet to be validated as fact and not merely a coincidence, and many experts are claiming it’s bogus, but researchers noted that in four separate studies the people who received the vaccine were more likely to fall ill with the H1N1 virus. Makes a lot of sense, right? That’s like going to the dentist to get cavities.

The report also prompted provincial health authorities to reassess the order in which people get flu shots, while some health bodies have even cancelled or postponed seasonal shots for certain age demographics altogether. Others see the mass inoculation of the entire Canadian population as the proper protocol. What it all adds up to is a lot of questions about the process, and a lot of doubt.

In October (at the time this story was filed), federal health officials pronounced that a new H1N1 vaccine was safe and effective, urging Canadians to get the shot. Some 60 million shots were ordered and provinces across the country were expected to begin rolling it out in November and December.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the next time your workplace, school or community is offering vaccinations for influenza, make sure you know exactly why you’re shooting up. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your due diligence. 

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