A timely Cafe Scientifique


Next week, on Tuesday the 27th, at the Common Cup Coffeehouse, Rachel Johnson of the biology discipline will explain Why You Should Get a Flu Shot: The Science Behind Vaccines.

You are required to attend. There will be a quiz afterwards, and this material will definitely be on the final exam. You will be excused if you get your flu shot, however.


  1. marcus says

    Got mine yesterday! Neener, neener!
    Unfortunately the reason I was at the doctor’s office was to get something to help clear my ears and sinuses after two weeks of scuba and free diving. Head. Asploding.

  2. dianne says

    I got mine on Friday. But (dramatic pause) I was autistic afterwards! (Also before, but never mind that.)

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just got my Medicare card this week, so the flu shot is covered under part B. Now to find time to get to the pharmacy.

  4. Menyambal - torched by an angel says

    I got mine last week. It was after an exhausting couple of months, so it may have hit me harder than it should. Well, better than the full flu and no time off.

  5. frog says

    Already got mine back in September, as I do every year now (for the past 15 years or so).

    I had flu twice as a younger adult. Really drove home how this illness kills people, because I was a healthy late20s-early30s-year-old and it wrecked me for two solid weeks (one week ill, one week barely able to function while I recovered). Very easy to imagine it killing a child or older person or someone with poor constitution to begin with.

    I’m able to get this vaccine, so I consider it my duty not just to myself, but to the folks who are unable to have it and need my contribution to herd immunity. Anyone who refuses for no good reason is an antisocial asshole.

  6. says

    Last year a good friend of mine’s daughter got Guillain- Barre syndrome and I had to help with some things while she was at her lowest point. I know it isn’t rational, but I’m still not able to force myself to get a flu shot after seeing her.

    Sh did make an almost complete recovery, by the way.

  7. moarscienceplz says

    My company offered FREE flu shots this week, and yet I had a conversation with one of our managers where he bragged about NOT getting one. Idiots are everywhere, even in Silicon Valley.

  8. moarscienceplz says

    From CDC.gov

    In 1976 there was a small increased risk of GBS following vaccination with an influenza vaccine made to protect against a swine flu virus. The increased risk was approximately 1 additional case of GBS per 100,000 people who got the swine flu vaccine. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a thorough scientific review of this issue in 2003 and concluded that people who received the 1976 swine influenza vaccine had an increased risk for developing GBS. Scientists have multiple theories on why this increased risk may have occurred, but the exact reason for this association remains unknown.

    The link between GBS and flu vaccination in other years is unclear, and if there is any risk for GBS after seasonal flu vaccines it is very small, about one in a million. Studies suggest that it is more likely that a person will get GBS after getting the flu than after vaccination. It is important to keep in mind that severe illness and death are associated with influenza, and vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza infection and its complications.

    (bolding mine)

  9. Friendly says

    In my latest online exchange with an otherwise smart and talented friend of mine who unfortunately happens to be an anti-vaxxer, I managed to hold it together and be polite and sympathetic and nice right up until she said “People with HEALTHY immune systems can resist polio just fine.” (She made this statement in the online presence of someone who had been young in America–and had lost people she knew to the disease–in the years just before the polio vaccine was introduced, BTW.) I didn’t want to damage our friendship, but I was not moderate in my immediate response to that one.

  10. Al Dente says

    moarscienceplz @8

    My company has been offering free flu vaccinations for employees for years. We’ve always had 60-70% rate for the vaccines. I can understand some people not getting the vaccine, like my friend who’s allergic to eggs, but I don’t know why so many people don’t want it.

  11. says

    Al Dente @ 13:

    I don’t know why so many people don’t want it.

    I’ve heard a fair number of people express the notion that getting the shot will guarantee they’ll get the flu. Lot of ignorance out there.

  12. frog says

    Caine @ 14:

    I’ve heard a fair number of people express the notion that getting the shot will guarantee they’ll get the flu.

    These are people who think a bad cold is the flu. Anyone who’s ever had full-blown actual influenza as an adult cannot possibly be confused. The real flu comes with a scary-high fever, a dilemma over which end of the alimentary canal to point at the toilet, and eventually a wish that it would just fucking kill you already so the misery would be over.

    (Both times for me the wish to die was right at the worst bit, and the fever broke shortly thereafter. Funny how that works.)

    Never. Fucking. Doing. That. Again. It’s goddamn horrible. It’s so horrible I don’t even wish anti-vaxxers would experience it so they know what it is.

  13. says

    To determine if you have the flu or a cold, do the following thought experiment. Imagine you have a 100 dollar bill taped to your door. If you don’t want to get out of bed to get the money, you have the flu.