Vaccination for the Layman: A Very Metaphorical Q and A Guide to the Flu and Other Vaccines by your Local Biochemist and Author.

It’s that time of year again—by which I mean flu vaccination season! Vaccines are often a hot topic, and the mechanics behind them can be complicated for those untrained in the biological sciences. But everyone deserves to know what’s happening . So without further ado, here’s answers to some common questions about vaccinations, conveyed metaphor style.

Let’s get this out of the way up front, shall we: DO VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM? Only according to one douche who was paid to say it.

Now, the fun stuff:

WHAT’S THAT VACCINE PUTTING IN MY BODY?

A blueprint to the enemy! By giving your body this blueprint, you’re telling it how to fight that invader when it attacks. This is the difference between a country fighting an unknown organization they have no knowledge of, and a country fighting an organization their spies have already brought back all the details on prior to the first attack.

CAN I GET SICK FROM A VACCINE?

Yes and no. The blueprint you’re getting is never the full, attack-ready invader, but either a dead one, a piece of one, or a gagged and bound version carefully delivered to your army’s doorstep. You won’t catch the sickness it usually brings.

But, because there is a perceived incoming enemy, your body might rush into attack mode, and attack mode can feel a lot like being sick, because it’s the same mode you go into whenever you are actually sick. It often makes you sore for a day, and in some cases can cause more annoying symptoms, like fatigue, fever, nausea, and inflammation.

IF I GOT THE FLU VACCINE, WHY IS THERE STILL A CHANCE I MIGHT GET THE FLU?

The flu virus changes its blueprints a lot, so each year we have to make a calculated guess to decide which blueprints to provide people. That means there’s still flu enemies out there your body doesn’t have the blueprints for, but each year that you get new blueprints, your archive builds, giving you a better chance of destroying any flu invaders that come your way.

On rare occasions, bodies will also decide to toss out blueprints, both those we provide and the ones they spy out on their own. Bodies, like the people who live in them, aren’t perfect. Archives get knocked over and files misplaced. That’s just life.

WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE HORROR STORIES? VACCINES HAVE HURT PEOPLE BEFORE!

Yes they have! Everything on earth has hurt someone before; there are even people are allergic to sunlight and water.

Vaccines are like cars (in America anyway, where the public transit system isn’t worth mentioning). Almost all of the time, they make our lives a whole lot easier. We can get places and visit people and have jobs we never would have access to otherwise. But sometimes they don’t work the way we wish; they occasionally break down and there are minor accident. And then there are those very rare, but very horrible occasions, where a semi-truck comes out of nowhere, leaving nothing in its wake but three small crosses on the roadside. And that’s terrible, and it’s tragic.

But this doesn’t convince us to stop driving cars. If we quit motor transport and went back to horses and wagons, for most people this would be somewhere between inconvenient and life altering. For everyone ever saved by an ambulance, it would be deadly.

OKAY, BUT IF I’M THE ONE WHO’S ONLY SOMEWHAT INCONVENIENCED BY NOT GETTING THE VACCINE, THEN WHY SHOULDN’T I JUST SKIP IT?

Just like our individual bodies are fighting their own wars against invading sickness, the whole populations of cities, countries, and the world are also fighting a communal war. If enough people’s bodies hold blueprints to the enemy, it’s much harder for that enemy to get a foothold. If each body is a country, and an outside force is trying to get to the middle-most landlocked countries, but all the seaside ones have blueprints, then the invaders can’t get to those landlocked places.

Now, also imagine that the landlocked country has no army. If the invaders get through the seaside countries, then the landlocked country will die. Do you want to be the one who lets the invaders get to and destroy this person, just because your cities have strong enough walls that you can watch the invaders march through your countryside and shrug?

WHAT ABOUT MY KIDS? WHAT’S WRONG WITH STOPPING OR DELAYED THEIR VACCINATIONS?

The longer you wait to provide your child with a blueprint to their possible attackers, the more time you give those attackers to invade. If you know an invading army might be coming very soon, would you build your town’s wall a few bricks a day? No way! You want as much of a defense as possible, as soon as you can get it!

By giving your child vaccines on the recommended schedule, they build their defenses quickly and don’t need to be at the doctors nearly as often, leaving you both healthier and less stressed.

BUT ISN’T IT HARMFUL TO GIVE SO MANY BLUEPRINTS TO MY KID AT ONE TIME?

When your body receives a blueprint, there is that chance that it’ll call its army into action and prepare for an attack. Providing multiple blueprints at once increases this chance. It still does NOT, however, mean that the body is coming down with any of the associated sicknesses, and the body will quickly figure out its safe and go back to its usual state. By giving vaccines on your physician-recommended schedule, the body only has to contemplate going into attack mode a few times, instead of the many times it will if the vaccinations are spread out.

Also keep in mind that your physician’s recommended vaccination schedule has been very well tested and is absolutely the safest route. Your physician is recommending it despite the fact that they would receive more money if you spread out your child’s vaccinations, because they know it’s the safest option!

THE TAKE AWAY FROM ALL THIS: go get your flu vaccine!

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