How Do You Feel About the Flu Shot?

Updated on September 17, 2009
K.R. asks from Brooklyn, NY
9 answers

Hi
I wanted to get some opinions about the flu shot. "on the fence" about it. I'm not comfortable with injecting the flu virus into my son. I spoke with two pediatricians in my son's practice and they told me he should get it. I want to see how other Moms feel about itand if you have any insight to offer.
Thank You,
K.

1 mom found this helpful

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B.B.

answers from New York on

I, too, and worried about it, particularly in the face of it not necessarily even having the needed antibodies in it. Is there some way of determining how effective it is likely to be?

Despite my worries, I will likely immunize my kids (ages 3 and 7), because of the threat of the regular flu and swine flu being quite significant this year.

"Lindsey" and "Alicia" seem to offer reasonable, solid advice on this. I'm with them.

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L.B.

answers from New York on

Hi K.,

I'm not sure if you're speaking about the regular flu vaccine or the swine flu vaccine (or both!). Both are made the same way -- the same "formula" is used to create a vaccine containing antigens from the flu viruses expected to be the most common this year (or with the H1N1 antigens, in that case). If you get the injection, the virus in the vaccine is totally and completely dead -- it should not be able to give you the flu under any circumstances (the nasal spray vaccine contains live attenuated virus so it could at least theoretically still mutate and make you sick). Also, the single-dose injections do not contain thermerisol (mercury), so if you're worried about that, you should request that kind rather than an injection from the multi-dose vial.

Although each year's particular batch of the vaccine is made new, the formula has been used for decades and I believe is well-tested at this point. There are always risks with anything, of course -- people could have allergic reactions to it and there seems to be about a 1/1,000,000 chance of getting Guillian-Barre syndrome from it, per cdc.org. On the other hand, if your child gets the flu (H1N1 or regular flu), his chances of dying from the virus are higher than his chances of complications from the vaccine.

I am generally pro-vaccination -- although I personally prefer a delayed schedule -- but I can go either way on the flu vaccine. I think that's because the vaccine doesn't protect you against all kinds of the flu and because the flu generally more miserable (albeit very, very miserable) than it is dangerous. Personally, if my child stayed home most of the time, I might opt not to get it until school-age ... if he were in daycare, I think I'd get it. Good luck!

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A.B.

answers from New York on

Hi K.,

I agree with everyone else you do not get the flu from the flu shot. What had me originally delay it was it's a painful shot and my son is so not the "shot" boy. But that was fixed by getting the flu "mist", which if your kiddie isn't allergic to eggs can get it. Knock on wood my son has never gotten the flu. Schools are so germy he gets colds and strep I'm happy to be able to stave off the flu. I never had a flu shot until I was 38 and have heart issues. When you have heart problems it is recommended. I had the flu when I was in my 20's twice and I thought I wouldn't survive it. good luck. A. B

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K.P.

answers from New York on

I'm one of those parents that is against the flu shot. I have seen more people get sick from the shot than the law allows. I have also seen people catch the flu after getting "the shot". It is just not acceptible at all.

Many more people survive the flu than die from it. The odds are if you are going to catch the flu, you will survive it. Since he is home with you it shouldn't be a proplem in my opinion.

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K.H.

answers from New York on

We all get the flu shot in my house. The virus they inject is inactivated and safe. I never got the flu shot in my life until 3 yrs ago. I used to be afraid of side effects, etc, but then I got the flu for the 1st time when my daughter was 7 mos old. I have NEVER been so sick in my life. So, every Oct we trek in and get our shots to avoid it. None of us has ever had any side effects except maybe a little soreness at the injection site. Good luck.

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L.L.

answers from New York on

The flu shot is a much better alternative to getting the actual flu especially if he is around other children alot. As long as your child is not allergic to eggs, your son should get the shot and the H1N1 when it is available.

Are there after effects of the shot? Mild ones. My daughter gets a slightly elevated temperature and a little pain at the injection site. I give her some baby tylenol when she gets home from the doctors office and that is about it.

The full blown flu can be very dangerous to one so young, in some cases fatal. I wouldn't chance it especially if it can be prevented.

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J.M.

answers from New York on

I have my reservations ! I don't believe they've done enough studies on it to have it out on the market. I feel we are being used as guinea pigs. If your child is not in school, then there are other ways to prevent from getting it. PREVENTION is key, find websites that tell you what other natural ways you can avoid getting the flu. Use the flu shot as a last recourse, God forbid if your son should get cantaminated.

Good luck & God bless
J. M

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A.H.

answers from New York on

I am all for it, and get it for my daughter every year (and for me this year, since I am pregnant). Significantly more children die of the regular flu every year than of the H1N1 virus which everyone is in a panic about because it's new (and the media LOVES new diseases!!) Injecting a tiny amount of the flue virus into your body is how the body learns to recognize the virus and built defenses against it before it gets exposes to the "real thing" over the winter time. A small fever is possible, and this is just a sign that the body is responding by building its defenses. Try to minimize his exposure to germs during this time since his immune system will be slightly down for the day or two after, but by all means, don't let this keep you from giving him the vaccine - the real thing will be MUCH worse and potentially dangerous.

FYI, I'm talking about the regular flu virus. As for the H1N1 vaccine, I'd hold off. WAY too new to risk on your kids, and like I said, the regular flu has been shown to be more dangerous - it's just too common for the media to report on every regular flu death.

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B.C.

answers from New York on

Hi K.,

A lot of people get a bad cold or a stomach virus and they think they have "the flu". But if you've actually had influenza, I can guarantee you, you would get the shot for yourself and your children. It is really miserable, and makes you quite sick for at least a week. Flu shots do not make you sick, although it is true that sometimes, since new ones have to be made each year because of different strains of the virus, you can get the flu even if you've had the shot.

B.

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