Feverish tweets on flu shots 

Anti-vaccinators sound off on Twitter

Johanna Eisel, Contributor

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is receiving backlash from anti-vaccinators on their tweet to have all Pennsylvanians vaccinated for the upcoming flu season.  

All the followers that responded to the Department of Health, replied against getting the vaccination. Some followers, such as @reopenpa, responded sarcastically. 

“Make it a mandate,” said @reopenpa. 

Another follower, @FLST81, asked why there is a need for flu shots if people are wearing masks. 

“Ummm…if we are wearing the cure all masks to prevent the covid virus,” said @FLST81. “Why would we have to vaccinate for the lesser flue virus?” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it is possible to have both the flu and COVID-19 simultaneously. 

“Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations, which further strain the healthcare system,” said the CDC. 

Other followers acknowledged how deadly the flu is, but still refused to get the vaccination. 

“More deadly than COVID, but I’m still not getting the shot,” said @0_1776. 

Another follower against flu vaccinations, @jhops771, replied with a picture that said, “Read what you are injecting.”  

The picture contains a close up of an influenza vaccine ingredient list, with words “chicken eggs,” formaldehyde,” and “mercury,” underlined without context or explanation on the ingredients. 

The picture of the vaccine packaging is accurate. The influenza vaccine was used in 2016 and 2017 to vaccinate for the flu, however, the picture does not explain why those ingredients are in the flu shot.  

According to the Food and Drug Administration, formaldehyde is produced in humans naturally and in small doses, has no harmful effects upon the body.  

The preservative thimerosal, which is a mercury derivative, is added to prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi, according to the FDA. 

 Medical News Today said that this mercury form, from thimerosal, is called ethylmercury. Ethylmercury is safe form of mercury, unlike the type of mercury found in fish. Medical News Today said that ethylmercury has been used in vaccinations since the 1930s. Ethylmercury does not remain in the human body, unlike other types of mercury that are harmful to the body, according to Medical News Today.  

Medical News Today said that fertilized chicken eggs are used in flu vaccines because the influenza virus grows and replicates inside fertilized chicken eggs. Medical News Today said the virus is taken from the fertilized eggs, by the manufacturers, to be used in the flu vaccine. According to Medical News Today, there are egg-free forms of flu shots that are also available. 

The Department of Health said that everyone older than six months can be vaccinated for the flu. There is both a flu shot and a nasal spray to combat flu season this year. 

Secretary of Health, Rachel Levine, said that the vaccine will protect not only the person who receives the vaccination but also anyone they come in contact with. 

“We recommend doing so before flu activity begins in your community, said Levine. “Ideally before the end of October.