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Nurse Addresses Common Flu Vaccine Myths In Viral Facebook Post

Photo Credit: Facebook/BethPurkey

Winter is coming. The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are plunging, and a tiny microscopic bug is preparing to unleash its reign of holy terror over millions of people in the coming months.

In other words, it’s FLU season. Which also means it’s fight club season on social media. Currently, Facebook is rife with posts both for and against the flu vaccine. While some of the posts are based on science, others are based on personal experiences, and not surprisingly, everyone has an opinion.

After reading some of the less-informed comments on someone else’s Facebook post regarding the flu vaccine, Beth Purkey decided to throw her own hat into the ring (you’re a brave woman, Beth). An Emergency Room registered nurse and legal nurse consultant, Beth responded with her own post. And it has since gone viral with over 176,000 reactions and 254,000 shares to date.

In it she addresses some of the most common myths surrounding the flu vaccine, as an “ACTUAL certified medical professional,” and NOT an essential oils enthusiast. (Although, if you read the comments, she likes oils. But for diffusing, not to replace vaccines.)

She begins her post by saying:

Welp, I went and did it. I read the comments on someone’s flu vaccine post and in the process lost 5,642 brain cells that I can never have back. I’m going to say this real clear so that hopefully someone hears my voice louder than Lindsey the bartender who identifies as a ‘health wellness coach’ because she was “certified” by DoTerra essential oils company.

Clearly, Beth isn’t one to mince words. Look out, Lindsey, it seems that you’re about to be schooled.

Beth starts off her 5-point tutorial with what is possibly the most controversial argument surrounding the flu shot: whether or not you can get sick from the shot itself. And according to Beth? That would be a hard NO.

You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Ever.

She does state that it IS, however, possible to have an “immune response” to the vaccine. This can be characterized by a low grade fever, local redness and swelling, and mild inflammation. And this response? Is GOOD. It means that your body is doing exactly what it is designed to do. It is working to build up immune cells to fight the virus. And if you happen to get sick 1 or 2 weeks after the vaccine, before it has had a chance to reach its peak effectiveness?

It’s crappy timing. Period.

She then addresses the common belief that the flu vaccine is dangerous with a number of serious potential side effects, such as strokes and auto-immune diseases. She writes:

The vaccine does NOT cause strokes, auto-immune diseases, or severe allergic reactions. There is a very small percentage of people who’s bodies do not react normally and therefore those people should not receive the vaccine.

And it’s for the people who can’t receive the vaccine that the rest of us should be vaccinating. For those in our community that are the most vulnerable and who will suffer the greatest repercussions from contracting the flu. For the youngest and the oldest. For the immuno-compromised and those already fighting against cancer and chronic diseases. For these people the flu isn’t just an inconvenience. It’s a potential death sentence.

Last year alone, 79,400 people died from influenza, according to the CDC. Some of these deaths? Could have been prevented. Herd immunity matters.

When healthy people vaccinate, we protect the newborns and the grandparents and the chemo patients and the ones who truly cannot receive the vaccine. It’s called herd immunity, and it’s the cornerstone of a healthy society.

And for those of you who are still stuck on point #1 and are having a hard time letting go of the belief that the flu vaccine MAKES you sick? IT DOESN’T.

You did not get the “stomach flu” from the influenza vaccine. The stomach virus commonly called the “stomach flu” is not a flu at all.<?blockquote>

The Mayo Clinic defines Influenza as: “A viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach “flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.”

So the next time you are hit with a stomach bug and are lying there, writhing on the bathroom floor, exploding from both ends, cursing the flu vaccine that CLEARLY doesn’t work, just remember, the vaccine isn’t meant for stomach viruses. 

And Beth’s last and final point? Is one for all the naysayers out there who believe that she (and all medical personnel) are firmly ensconced in the back pocket of Big Pharma. Guess what? They’re not.

The drug companies and the CDC and all doctors and all nurses and everyone ever who advocated for vaccination are all paid by and/or brainwashed by big pharma to sell these vaccines by convincing others. Yeah… just no.

It’s not for non-existent bribes that Beth is speaking out in favor of the flu vaccine. It’s for the people she has witnessed, firsthand, who have suffered, and/or died, from something that could have been prevented, or at the very least, minimized.

I advocate for vaccines because I’ve held a newborn with fever while the doctor does a lumbar puncture. Because I’ve put a grandfather on a ventilator who couldn’t breathe and because I’ve put the final drape over a mother of 3’s face after she beat breast cancer but died of the flu. I did all of this knowing full well that it was preventable. We had the ability to save those people as a society and we failed because of the Lindseys in this world that prey on people’s poor understanding and fear.

Whether or not you decide to vaccinate against the flu is ultimately up to you. The reality is that the flu vaccine is not 100% effective.

The CDC estimates that last year, “the overall estimated effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine for preventing medically attended, laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection was 47%.” So sure, you could argue that you will likely be a part of the 53% that it doesn’t work for. So why bother?

Because at the end of the day, vaccination remains the most effective way to protect against the flu and its potentially serious complications. Period.