Octo𝘣𝘦𝘳 3, 2020
Our local clinic has started offering drive through flu shots beginning in October. There was no appointment necessary so after a couple of failed attempts (I got waylaid by other projects) I finally went in yesterday to receive my shot. I ended up arriving during the noon hour and was afraid there would be a line, so I was prepared to leave and come back later. I was surprised to see I was the only one there. The clinic had dedicated four parking stalls for patients to wait to get the vaccine. I called the number, they took my insurance information, and then said they would be out. I waited another 20 minutes before the nurse arrived. She asked some simple questions and then gave me the shot. The whole thing only took around 30 minutes.
I heard an interesting conversation on a zoom call about why corona virus affects children different than adults. Our antibodies learn and categorize pathogens to put up an effective fight while using the least energy. The immune system protects the body from possibly harmful substances by recognizing and responding to antigens on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, or bacteria. The immune system recognizes and destroys, or tries to destroy, substances that contain antigens. The immune system in children have not developed the learned behavior and throw all their antibodies at the threat. This overreaction causes the inflammation and side effects. Adults deploy the type of antibodies it has learned will fight the threat. It is only when the initial response does not work that more antibodies come to the fight.
One of the questions I was asked by the nurse was whether I was allergic to the flu vaccine. She was shocked when I said I had never had a flu shot. I am in no way an antivaxxer, but I have never trusted the flu shot. Reports say the effectiveness of the 2020 flu shot won’t be known until later in the season, but a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in 2019 found the vaccine that year was 39% effective for all age groups, and 42% effective for people over 50. This is typical and means you still must rely on other preventative measures to be safe. After asking if I was allergic, the nurse told me, “I guess you will find out.”
𝗧𝗛𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛𝗧𝗦: I read online that we develop three types of immunity. Innate immunity is the defense system you were born with and is your first line of defense in the immune response. Acquired immunity develops with exposure to various antigens and your immune system builds a defense against that specific antigen. Passive immunity is due to antibodies produced in a body other than your own and includes vaccines. It provides immediate protection against an antigen but does not provide long-lasting protection. I got my shot this year because I am in the high-risk category. While this will not protect me from covid-19, the flu will lower my immune response and make me more susceptible. This protects others as well as me. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.