Common Concerns About the Flu Vaccine

  • Occupational Health routinely uses vaccine that is latex free and thimerosal free.

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  • Allergy to the vaccine is the only absolute medical contraindication to flu vaccine.

    Talk with your health care provider about your concerns. Chances are it's OK to take a flu shot. In fact, your condition may increase your risk for flu complications, so vaccination could be even more important for you.

  • Did you know that most religions allow, and even encourage, vaccination as a way to take care of your health?

    Talk with a trusted religious leader about your concerns. You may find that taking a vaccine to prevent disease is consistent with your faith after all.

    For detailed information on specific religions and their positions on vaccines, visit our Immunizations and Religion page.

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  • Want natural immunity? Vaccination works naturally, by stimulating your body's natural immune system, so you're equipped to fend off infection without drugs.

    The only other way to get natural immunity is to get sick with the flu.

    While you're developing immunity from infection, you're not only miserable, you're contagious.

    Spreading the flu to others is nothing to sneeze at.

  • There are no dog cells in the influenza vaccine.

    In the 1960s, the Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell line was established using cells from a dog kidney biopsy. Since then, the cells have been grown in culture and have been used extensively in medical research.

    No dogs have been used since the original kidney biopsy in the 1960s!

    Some new flu vaccines might be developed using this cell line in the future, but none of the influenza vaccines in current use in the U. S. were made using MDCK cells.

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  • Fetal cells have NEVER been used to make influenza vaccine.

    Some formulations of hepatitis A, poliovirus, rabies, rubella , and varicella-zoster vaccines have been made using WI-38 or MRC-5 cell cultures. These cell lines were made possible due to 2 abortions performed in t he 1960s (V\/1-38 was cultured in 1961 in Sweden and MRC-5 was cultured in England in 1966.) The abortions we re not performed for the purpose of harvesting these cells, and no additional abortions are needed to sustain vaccine
    manufacture . The rubella vaccine is made using a strain of the rubella virus called RA 27 / 3 which was isolated in 1964 from an aborted fetus with rubella infection.

    Teams of ethicists at the National Catholic Bioethics Center have studied this issue in depth since the 1990s. These religious ethicists concluded that the use of these vaccines is ethical. Use of a vaccine in the present does not involve sharing in the action of those who carried out the past abortion. Since there is no ongoing harvest of fetal tissue for the purpose of making vaccines, the use of these vaccines has been determined to be acceptable for Catholics in the absence of alternative vaccines.

    Learn more on this topic at

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  • Think you're too healthy for a flu shot?

    Think again.

    The H1N1 virus that first appeared in 2009 is still the most common strain of flu virus around. It has caused severe disease, and even death, in young, healthy people - especially those who are not vaccinated.

    Fortunately, the vaccine provides protection from this strain.

    It's your life - isn't it worth a shot?

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