Opinion: What Andy Samberg And Sandra Oh Got Right At The Golden Globes: Vaccines Are Worth Celebrating!
Last week at the Golden Globes, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh made headlines as they tried to give out free flu shots to celebrities in the audience. This surprise stunt showed famous stars looking shocked and nervous as needle-wielding nurses descended from the stage to offer vaccinations. Samberg joked, “If you are an anti-vaxxer, just put a napkin on—perhaps over—your head and we will skip you.”
This segment certainly got laughs, but perhaps more importantly it got the flu vaccine—and vaccinations in general—back into public discourse. Yes, it might be January but it’s not too late to get your flu shot. While flu season tends to peak between December and February, it can run as late as May.
Furthermore, getting the flu shot saves lives. The CDC estimated that 80,000 Americans died from influenza and its complications last winter, which, to put into perspective, is equal to the number of Americans who died from diabetes in 2016. Our society perceives diabetes as a serious illness that can have major, life-altering complications (which it certainly can—causing blindness, amputation, and heart attacks) but when we think of flu, we often shrug it off as an inconvenience that means a few missed days of work or school. While that may be true for healthy adults, for young children with developing immune systems, older adults, and those with pre-existing health conditions, contracting the flu can be a death sentence. That’s why getting vaccinated is so important, it not only protects you but creates a larger “herd immunity”, which means the more vulnerable aren’t exposed.