Nope, I'm not referring to What-Does-Killing-Turkeys-Have-To-Do-With-Giving-Thanks Day (although Happy Thanksliving to all American readers!), or even Black Friday, but the pressure to get a flu shot. In my case, it's a mandatory job requirement that I've (mostly) managed to avoid thus far, but this year they've become more stringent. Understandable in a way since the elderly population I work with is more vulnerable, and their weaker immune systems make fighting off the flu more difficult. So I get that while for various reasons I may choose not to get the flu shot myself (do some googling and you'll find plenty of folk debating the pros and cons and efficacy), I still need to protect others. This I try to do by always coughing or sneezing into my uniform sleeve, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and not going in when sick.
I've only been talked into getting the shot once by my employers (and regretted it almost immediately), and other years they have mercifully either forgotten to ask (sometimes a "don't ask, don't tell" policy can be a good thing) or just haven't pushed it. But this year a sheet was placed in our work slots informing us that we either have to get the flu shot, OR provide a copy of our prescription for Tami flu (also not ideal, and you have to wear a mask while working), OR we will not be allowed to work during an outbreak and won't receive pay for that time. Luckily I'm a casual on-call employee and haven't been asked whether I've gotten the shot yet, but my feeling is that if the issue comes up I'll tell them I won't be working.
Because the real kicker of course is that the flu shot isn't vegan. Besides other nasty ingredients like formaldehyde, neomycin, thimerosal, mercury and aluminum, the vaccine is made using fertilized chicken eggs, or in the case of those allergic to eggs, newer vaccines using animal cells can be made available. Um, yeah.
Obviously, this isn't something I want injected into my body if only because I don't consume animal products, but is this a case where you could argue that what is used to make the vaccine is a trace ingredient? And something not to make a big deal of? On the other hand, I wouldn't get the shot even if I weren't vegan because it isn't always effective (they can only guess at the flu viruses that will dominate any given season), reactions, hospitalizations and casualties do happen, and there are common-sense ways of avoiding getting the flu.
I dunno, but there's something that makes me uneasy about the push to vaccinate everyone under the sun (at least, everyone 6 months of age and older) when it may not even be effective in preventing it, for an illness that may not even happen, and for something that healthy adults are certainly not going to die from. Why don't we focus more on building healthy bodies and strong immune systems to begin with? Or natural ways of either preventing or coping with illness rather than injecting junk?
Unfortunately I can't even make the claim that I didn't realize my work would require me to get an annual flu shot as it was part of the contract I signed when I was hired on. (I just hoped to sneak around the requirement.) So what would you do? Or have done if you're a vegan working in the health care field?
p.s. can't believe a month and a half has gone by so quickly, and I hope to catch up on commenting on other blogs soon!