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This or that: Do I need a flu shot?

flu shot

Health officials are anticipating a difficult flu season during the winter of 2019-20. Students can receive flu vaccinations at Watkins Health Services on campus.

Fever, headache, chills, coughs and aches all over your body could be right around the corner for you and everyone you come into contact with. That’s right, it’s flu season, and that means the return of the annual question: should you get the flu shot?

Don’t Get it

Around 50% of the people in the United States refuse to get a flu shot every year because they believe it will make them sick, or don’t believe it works. A study by Dartmouth College of 1,000 people in 2015 showed 43% believe this to be true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects flu data each year, and its estimates back the study up. Just 45% of adults in the United States received the flu shot last year. Riley Beveridge-Calvin, a sophomore at the University of Kansas, is part of that statistic, and shares the belief that the shot can do more harm than good. 

“I’ve had the shot in the past,” Beveridge-Calvin says, “and I just feel like I get sick right after every time, so I stopped getting it. I’d rather just take the risk.”

Get It

While she’s not alone, doctors agree that people who “take the risk” are wrong. The CDC assures no matter which form of the vaccine you receive, it is impossible for it to give you the flu, and any flu-like symptoms felt shortly after getting the shot are either a mild reaction showing your immune system is working, or a sign you have already come into contact with a virus before getting the shot.

The Verdict

Get the flu shot! 100% of the time. Every year. The start of flu season. Do it not just for yourself, but those who you come into contact with, especially the elderly or young children who are much more susceptible to the flu virus and can have more severe reactions to it. 

Where You Can Get the Flu Shot

Any KU student can bring their student ID to Watkins Health Center on campus and get the flu shot for $35. CVS Pharmacy also has the vaccine for $40, but it may be cheaper, or completely covered, depending on your health insurance.

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