Shots or Not

August 4, 2016

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services advises its citizens to take this battery of vaccinations & immunizations in order to stay healthy:

Flu Influenza / Td/Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) / Shingles / Pneumococcal / MMR (Measles, mumps, rubella) / HPV (Human papillomavirus) / Chickenpox 

Contrary to their recommendation, in the past 20 years I’ve only taken 2 Tetanus boosters & have avoided the others. I’m simply not convinced that all the risks of side-affects & potential detriment to my general well being are worth the possible protection from such diseases. For me, it seems highly unlikely that I may have to deal with a Mumps outbreak. I’m willing to take the risk to not have to deal with the potential for depression &/or my kidneys failing. For me, once I hear the phrase “If suicidal thoughts occur…..” or “There is potential for liver failure…..” I’m out!

Likewise, in my many years teaching overseas the only additional immunization I take is for Hepatitis-A. This form of Hepatitis is mainly spread through consuming contaminated food/water (as from food handlers who don’t wash hands) & is very common in less developed areas.  I’ve considered the Malaria vaccine, but after checking into its adverse effects (hearing loss & night terrors), I stepped up my game with repellent use but do not take the vaccine.

When travelling back to the U.S. from the foreign location where I’ve been working, however, I do carry some medications & vaccines that will treat diseases I may have contacted prior to departure. Your doctor, hospitals, clinics & county health agencies may not be equipped to treat dysentery or parasites, & are most likely unschooled in diagnosing &/or treating tropical diseases. In fact, County Health officials in my home town (a city with 170,000+ people) told me it would take at least 2 weeks just to get the results of a simple malaria test. That’s too long to figure out, back home, why you feel so bad!

The decision to be vaccinated in your own country &/or life overseas is a personal decision that each of us has to decide for ourselves. If we make the wrong decision, we’ll have to accept the consequences of that decision. What’s your stance on this topic? Is the risk worth the cure? Do you get the recommended vaccines for travel, or just one or two? Or none of them? Please take our short Survey and scroll down to add your comments.

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