Why Don't People Get Vaccinated?

I really wonder what drives people to avoid vaccines. I understand skepticism, and I think it's right to be cautious of new medicinal methods. As Andrew taught us earlier, physicians don't always have the best ideas about how to make people better. Still, the science supporting vaccinations is there. Well-funded and properly organized studies have found no evidence for a connection between vaccinations and deadly side effects-- at least no more so than anything else we do on a day-to-day basis, like driving. So why are people adverse to getting vaccines?

I have a strong fear of needles. I freakin hate them. Because of this, anytime a new vaccine is offered to me, I initially fall back on that phobia as a means of avoiding the shot. I justify the avoidance of the vaccine by my fear. After a few seconds, though, I realize I'm being stupid, and I get the vaccine (if you also suffer from this fear, here's an article on how to get over it). I do this not only for myself (vaccines make me healthier), but also for the larger society around me. If I don't get vaccinated, I could present a danger to others who haven't had the opportunity to get vaccinated yet. This is espeially the case with diseases like whooping cough which effects children and can be fatal. 

Ultimately, I could understand an avoidance of vaccines if the reasearch was a lot more flimsy-- but it simply isn't. The science is there, and it's time for people to get on board with making our communities safer. 



I fully agree with what you're saying. As Andrew told us, the anecdote is powerful. The few horror stories people love to tell are what drives a lot of people away from the vaccinations in general. However, I, for one, always get vaccinated. I believe that if the well educated scientists and doctors think it's the right thing to do then so do I. I just got my flu vaccine today and I understand it's hard for some people to wrap their head around the fact that they're exposing themselves to exactly what they're trying to avoid in order to avoid it, but it makes sense. The immune system learns how to counteract the virus to better protect you in the future. Take a look at how the immune system works. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/TOPICS/IMMUNESYSTEM/Pages/default.aspx

Thanks for the comment! Personally, though I think it's important, I have never gotten a flu vaccine. Really, it's always been because I'm so busy, and my yearly checkups are never during flu season so my dr's never offer it to me. I really should go get it done this year, though.
Here's the CDC's page on the flu:

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