You don’t think you need a flu jab?

It’s Immunisation Awareness week:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says immunisation week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of immunisation. This year’s immunisation week theme is – ‘protecting baby begins at pregnancy.’

“Expectant mums are encouraged to enrol with a Lead Maternity Carer, be immunised during pregnancy, and immunise their baby,” says Dr Coleman.

“Getting immunised against whooping cough and influenza when you’re pregnant are two of the most important ways you can help protect your baby for their first few weeks of life.

“Babies are vulnerable to whooping cough until they have completed their six week, three month and five month immunisations.

“Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from complications from influenza that can put their health, and their baby’s health, at risk.” . . .

It’s not only pregnant women who are at risk from the flu.

Polly Gillespie writes on losing her sister to the flu.

If you’re likely to be upset by graphic details of what the illness did to her body, don’t read on.

. . . In October 2000 my sister died of influenza in Waikato hospital.

She got sick on the Tuesday and was dead on the Saturday. It was a horrible death. I’ll never forget sitting with her all through the night. She was in an induced coma. Blood seeped from her eyes, nose and ears. Her hands and feet turned black.

The wonderful staff at the hospital hooked her up to a machine that removed her blood, cleaned it, and pumped it back through her body. The noise of that machine will live in my head forever.

“If she lives, and she probably won’t,” the doctor said, “I’m afraid she will lose her hands and feet.” . . 

Please don’t believe the flu only kills old and vulnerable people. My sister was in her prime. She was healthy, fit and lean.

Don’t tell me you have the flu when you have a cold. Don’t tell me you don’t need the flu injection. Don’t tell me you know anything about the flu until you’ve seen someone die of it, in a matter of days.

Don’t even talk to me about the flu until you’ve watched a body shut down, bleed from every orifice, and then die with lungs full of fluid. There was no combination of antibiotics strong enough to save the life of a near perfect human being.

Get the flu shot. Don’t write to me telling me about bad reactions. Don’t begin to talk to me about not believing in vaccinations, because I really might hurt you. And I’ll certainly hate you. I’ve seen the result of not getting a flu vaccination. Jeanette told me she didn’t think she needed one because she was fit and healthy.

Influenza kills young, amazing, gifted, beautiful, incredible people. It’s quick, and it’s brutal, and extraordinarily messy. Please get vaccinated.

Vaccination doesn’t give total immunity but it does give protection and will lessen the severity of the illness.

It also helps build herd immunity which protects those who are unable to have vaccinations.

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