Time to take vaccinations seriously

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On October 14, Wilfrid Laurier University students received an email from the Office of Student Affairs informing them that the Wellness Centre was holding flu shot clinics again for another year.

They’re held on various days throughout the month of November.

After booking a time slot online, all you have to do is show up with your OHIP or UHIP card and receive your free vaccination. They even welcome walk-ins.

What I fail to understand, given how incredibly easy Laurier and the Ontario Ministry of Health have made it for students to get vaccinated, is why so few of us get it done.

Vaccines work through a technique where dead forms of a disease are introduced into the bloodstream in the hopes that your body will be able to create antibodies and subsequently be better prepared to fight the real illness should you come into contact with it.

Though vaccinations only came into existence a little over 200 years ago, large-scale immunization campaigns by governments around the world were able to quickly and efficiently disseminate the radical technology.

Those early vaccinations are largely responsible for the widespread eradication of many previously prevalent and deadly diseases, such as polio, measles, or chicken pox in developed nations and even managed to globally eradicate one of the oldest diseases on earth: small pox.

In developing nations, individuals are still dying by the millions due to disease, which could be avoided if they have access to vaccinations. Yet, here in Canada, we can’t be bothered to take advantage of our incredibly accessible healthcare.

While some fear vaccination because of adverse health effects, with notable movements accusing them of causing autism, the argument holds no scientific basis.

Rather, I believe the bigger issue when it comes to university age students not getting vaccinated is ignorance.

We don’t understand the potential gravity of these diseases because we’ve grown up in a world free from the threat of deadly rampant viruses (thanks to those previously mentioned campaigns) and we don’t care to learn.

Sure, we see the epidemics breaking out overseas, such as with the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks, but they’re still foreign incidents to which we remain removed enough to crack jokes and make online memes.

With the onset of midterm season comes countless complaints of the Laurier plague, made infamous by the “Spotted” twitter account. This is, in reality, nothing more than a cyclical illness perpetuated by the student lifestyle of close quarters, little sleep, high stress and poor self-care.

We may not have the option to eat perfectly balanced diets or get a full eight hours every evening, but the vast majority of us could easily get a flu shot.

There are, of course, those few who either for medical reasons, allergies, or even religious beliefs cannot get inoculated – they are dependent, instead, on you, the average healthy Canadian, to take the initiative and provide for them the needed herd immunity.

I can’t force you to get the flu shot. I can’t book your appointment, remind you to bring your health card to campus that day, or walk you to the Wellness Centre.

I can, however, tell you that I’ve already booked my appointment and should you choose not to do the same, I better not see any fucking tweets about you getting sick.

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