The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

For some it’s spiders, for others it’s clowns — but my irrational fear is needles. Even if it’s “just a little prick,” needles send me in to an emotional tailspin, starting with the sweats and ending with me passed out on my doctor’s office floor (No, really. And I’m pre-med.).

So if I’m getting the H1N1 flu vaccine — you are too.

Penn’s first in a series of vaccine clinics was supposed to be held today. With everyone around me coming down with one ailment or another, I was counting down the days until I could cross swine flu off my list of things I’m scared of catching.

Unfortunately, our shipment of vaccines was delayed and today’s clinic canceled (Subsequent Friday vaccine clinics are tentatively scheduled, pending the arrival of the vaccine.).

The longer we have to wait to get our hands on the vaccine, the more likely swine flu is to spread at school. Whereas seasonal flu typically targets the sick and the elderly, swine flu is the “young person’s flu,” according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. College students across the country have been hospitalized or quarantined for it already. Today’s clinic cancellation should only leave you itching for next Friday. When the vaccine is finally available at Penn, and you should all be lining up (even if that means around the block!) to get it.

I wish that I could trust the student body to take their health seriously enough to get the shot, but I know that it’s just not that important to some and for others, concerns about the vaccine’s safety might prevent one from getting it.

If my pleading isn’t enough (I’m shocked that it's not) and you’re still deliberating whether you’re going to line up at the ARCH next Friday, let me break it down for you and set the record straight by debunking two common myths about H1N1 flu vaccine.

Unreasonable Swine Flu Vaccine Myth #1: Swine flu isn’t that bad — you really don’t need the vaccination.

I’ve heard a lot of people downplay the threat of swine flu, saying that it’s just like the regular flu — you feel sick and then you get better on your own.

But even so, we’ve all experienced the flu. It didn’t kill us, but it sucked. I most definitely agree that needles suck too, but they suck for a much shorter, much less debilitating time period.

Wharton Junior Jen Poon puts it well. “A trip to the ARCH is definitely better than being in bed for a week.”

At school, your exams don’t wait for you to get better, mom’s comforting hand is miles away and you miss out on all the fun. Can you really tell me a couple minutes of discomfort from a needle are worse than this?

Unreasonable Swine Flu Vaccine Myth #2: The swine-flu vaccine hasn’t been properly tested — it was rushed though standard protocol.

Blatantly false. The CDC has made it very clear that this vaccination has been through the same rigorous testing procedure as the seasonal-flu vaccine. The virus is completely deactivated and no longer infectious. In other words, you cannot get the flu from the shot.

Some people are believe the swine flu vaccine carries some pretty nasty side effects, from autism to Gulf War Syndrome to the most popular, Guillain-Barre syndrome.

That’s irrational. Put simply, fear that this vaccine will give you Guillain-Barre is about on the same line as thinking that talking on a cell phone leads to brain cancer.

Each day we progress further and further into flu season. Especially in light of our vaccine delay, I cannot stress enough we’ve all got to get ourselves vaccinated ASAP.

If you don’t think you need the shot — you’re wrong. You do.

If you’re scared of the shot — you’re wrong. It’s safe.

And if you’re just too lazy to get it — shame on you.

Sally Engelhart is a College sophomore from Toronto. Her e-mail address is

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.