The Flu Vaccine

Hey y’all – I need some input please! We’ve done a delayed vaccine schedule with Stella thus far (we’re all caught up on vaccines right now except Hep B and Hep A, which we’ve declined thus far but will do when she’s older)… and the flu. We didn’t get it last year, and this year… ugh, I wasn’t planning on it, but now with the flu season being so bad + me working in a medical clinic + air travel coming up in 2wks, I’m starting to second guess that. Thoughts? Opinions? How did you decide whether to get it or not / give it to your child or not?

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35 comments

  1. I got it for myself before weaning Sofia so she could get protection that way. It’s offered free at my work so since working here (5 winters) I ALWAYS get it for myself. But I think I’m pretty prone to get the flu and have gotten in BAD in years past. On the other side and FWIW, the flu shot is not routinely given to children here. Only for those with compromised immune systems…

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    1. Oh – GREAT point about some of the antibodies going through the breast milk. I think I’ll get my shot today no matter what… not so sure about Stella still. Hm….

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  2. I would definitely get it and soon. This flu season is BAD! Plus it takes 2 weeks for immunity to build up. I work in a hospital and this year is rough and the weather reports say winter is just getting started. BUT you must do what you feel comfortable with.

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  3. elizabeth · · Reply

    Shane hasn’t had any shots. Nothing at all. I don’t plan on getting any for atleast 1 more year. I let my OB talk me into getting the flu shot 1x because I just found out I was pregnant. Not only did I get VERY VERY sick with all flu symptoms but I also lost the pregnancy. The pregnancy loss may or may not have had anything to do with the shot-I will never know for sure but I WILL NEVER NOR WILL MY KIDS EVER get the flue shot. I understand it is not a live virus but it is bad. Plus they guess every year which strain of the flu will be popular and make the shot for that. It’s a crap shoot {and in my opnion} not work the risk. Eat healthy food, rest and live a healthy lifestye. All of this is just my personal opinion & I only say this because you asked. I would never try to push my opinion on others. Everyone can decide what is best for them.

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    1. Thanks E! I totally appreciate your input. Vaccines are something I struggle with. We do give most of them to Stella, just on a more spaced out / delayed schedule. I’m really only concerned this year b/c I’m actually working in a medical center and exposed to a LOT of sick people suddenly. Ugh. I’m so torn.

      Also, I’m so sorry for your loss. Those “What ifs” are killer…

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  4. We all get the flu shot in our house. We both worked in hospitals before having Blakely so we got them every year. I had the flu one time and I have gotten the shot every single year since then…IT WAS NOT FUN to be that sick! Blakely was too young to get the shot last year and I worried about it constantly…we never left the house.

    You will get all kinds of different opinions on this topic. You just have to do what you think is best for Stella.

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  5. I didn’t do the delayed vaccination route with Tay, so we definitely went for the flu shot with her. (It takes two trips, one month apart). Especially with Tay being a daycare baby, we went for it. Tay has had her fair share of runny noses, but no fevers or other flu symptoms yet.

    It is such a scary flu season this year. Gah.

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  6. You know as a medical professional, I would recommend it. I have had the flu shot every year since nursing school, except one year. And that year I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. I missed 8 days of work, which was closer to 3 weeks for me and I gave it to Babe and he actually called off work 2 times. That’s nearly unheard of for him. As far as them “picking” which strain, each year you get immunity to a different strain. There is no guarantee it will prevent you from getting sick, but the hope is that by having some immunity it will at least decrease the symptoms. Since I work in a hospital setting and deal with sick kids, when I work in peds, I want to protect myself and my child. But that’s my science background.

    You have to do what you feel is right. With the current “outbreak” status, I’m really glad I decided to get it for Raegan. My sister has NEVER gotten a the flu vaccine for her boys, but broke down this year because so many kids at their schools are sick. Good luck and safe travels….happy wedding to your sister 🙂

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    1. See – that’s something I’m struggling with – the “medical professional” advice – b/c it’s different from everyone! The main doc in our office gets it “to protect his kids at home” — but the two head nurses here do not. Most ppl that work here do not, actually!

      Also, I never get the flu shot (last year when I was pregnant I did b/c I felt pressure to, but that’s the first and only time)… and I never *knock on wood* get sick (well, anything more than a cold). So I dunno.

      I did just get the flu shot when I got to work this morning. Still thinking No for Stells. Have to decide by the end of the day today either way…

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  7. 3 years ago I had a 3 year old and a 6 year old. The 6 year old had the option to get the shot at school and we did that. I get one free from work and since I work with the public I did. The 3 year old hadn’t gotten one, it just didn’t work out. On a Monday my older daughter had a very slight fever, 99.5. She felt crummy for a day. 2 days later my younger daughter had a temp of 105 very suddenly. I immediately gave her motrin and tylenol. And off to the clinic we went. Nasal swab was positive for influenza. We all went on tamiflu (not cheap, fyi). I am convinced that my older daughter was exposed and because of the shot was only mildly sick for a day. I am a believer that while the shot may not keep them from getting a touch of influenza, it does save them from full blown influenza.

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  8. I have never been one to get a flu shot, neither has JJ, but between my dad bugging me about it and hearing about it every time I turn on the news, I’m starting to wonder if I should. Bottom line, I probably won’t end up doing it, and Chloe won’t be getting one either. Knock on wood we’ve all done just fine without it in years past so we are hoping this year is no exception. Interesting to hear other’s thoughts though.

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  9. This is the first year I got the flu shot. It was a tough choice because I don’t get it for myself, however I got one when I was pregnant. I just didn’t want to be deathly ill pregnant and I wanted Ever to get some of the benefits of the flue shot in uteri so when she came out a winter baby, she would be somewhat protected against all those germs of visitors. A newborn with a flu outweighed the risks for me, which I could find very few.

    The doctor said to do the one dose shot of the vaccine, not the refillable shots out of the same container as everyone else gets. The difference is the preservatives and mercury they put in the multi dose shots. I had to call around to a couple pharmacies, but found one one town over.

    Also, my super all natural friend face booked that she would never skip the flu shot again for her and her kids. Her husband got a shot and he is the only family member that didn’t get the terrible flu for 2 weeks!

    Good luck with the decision! It’s a tough one!!

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    1. Thanks for the input Lanie! I got a shot this morning like you said (I decided it might help protect Stella by #1 me not being sick, and #2 more antibodies through breastmilk), but I do NOT think I’m going to give Stella one.

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  10. With air travel in your near future? I really don’t think it’s even a question. You just can’t control what Stella will come in contact with in that kind of a situation. While I don’t have a child *yet*, our plan when the mini is born is to do delayed vaccinations similar to yours. We will never, though, skip the flu. DH is a pediatrician (so similar situation to you working in health care) and is just exposed to too much to make it worth leaving the mini unprotected. Sure, they’ll get some from my breast milk, but it’s not a risk we’re willing to take.

    Whatever you do I’m sure will be the right decision for you and your family.

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  11. I get the shot for myself and both of my girls. But I am of the pro vaccine mindset. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with. I work for Winter Park Resort and I know that the flu is running rampant up here. If you are going to get Stella vaccinated, keep in mind it takes 2 weeks to be fully effective and then in a month she’ll need to go for a booster.

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  12. My mom has an autoimmune disease (MS) and her neurologist has said that none of us directly related to her should get the flu vaccine. Our pediatrician totally supports this assessment and said that because of that, she’d rather not vaccinate Matthew at this time, but that B should get one to “protect the herd.”

    With that said, I am very opposed to the amount of vaccines we give in this country. Matthew is up to date on all of his, but that was a very tough decision for us. Good for you for doing the delayed schedule! To me, the flu vaccine is not necessary and just one more thing being pumped into these kids’ bodies – so we skip it. We would likely skip it even if my mom didn’t have MS. Easy for us to do when Matthew stays home with me all day – but Stella is in a small in-home daycare (less exposure) and with limited caregivers.

    Do what makes you comfortable. Don’t feel pressure to get it for her.

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    1. Thanks Court. Ya… I feel like we give WAY too many vaccines in this country as well, hence the reason we have opted out of a couple (or at least delayed them), and the flu is one I just don’t feel strongly is worth it. I dunno. I decided to get it myself this morning (since I get it free at work) to at least try to give Stella a bit of protection that way since I’m exposed to it all the time. I just don’t think I want to give the vaccine to Stells though. Ugh, parenthood. So many choices.

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  13. We opted not to vaccinate for the flu. I was a little leary of it anyway. Then, at Grace’s one year check up, my pediatrician asked if I wanted to faccinate. I told her I didn’t think we were going to go that route and she said that she honestly felt like it was a wise decision at this point because at this age they will only vaccinate with the nasal spray (not sure if that is everywhere, just here, or just my office). Anyway, she said it has to be given in two rounds, 1 month apart. Then, they are not considered fully vacinated until two weeks after receiving the second round. At that point, she said flu season would (hopefully) be on the way out. It does seem to be extra vicious this year!

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    1. Oops. Should have proof read. Vaccinate instead of faccinate 🙂

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      1. Shannon!! I miss you! Do you have a family blog I could check out? Or send me a pic of you little one. I can’t believe she’s a year old already!

        Thanks for the input too. 🙂 My peds doc also was 100% on board with us skipping the flu vaccine, and I think I’m going to stick with that.

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  14. We get the flu shot….and my best friend doesn’t. Her little ones are still sick with the flu after ten days. Super super sick. She said she would give them three shots each next year mic she could bc it is so bad. And yes, you may still get the flu even with the shot, but it’s our best defense against it.

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  15. Hi! Vaccine research has become one of my PASSIONS over the past year. I don’t talk about it much unless people ask my opinion (like in this case) because usually it is such a polarizing issue and people are usually set in their opinions of it anyways. That being said, I will never get another vaccine, nor will my children for the following reasons:
    1. the ingredients. If you read the actual package inserts of the vaccines (from the drug companies themselves) you will find all vaccines contain KNOWN neuortoxins. As a parent with a child with a neurological disease, this scares the hell out of me. No, these ingredients don’t affect all the same, but that’s kind of the point- to me, it’s playing Russian roulette. And also on the package inserts, there are reported reactions, including autism and SIDS. It’s right there if you look.
    2. No liability from the pharmaceutical companies. None. If you or your child is injured by any vaccines, the pharma co that made that shot has ZERO liability. You have to go through a complicated, ineffective filing system though the government and the chances of getting any compensation for a vaccine injury are very slim. And remember, the flu shot (and any shot) is big business for these companies. The more they sell, the more they make. It’s not just about protecting our society for them.
    3. There are other ways to prevent disease, and disease is part of life. Yes, the flu is bad. But studies have shown high doses of Vitamin D3 and C are just as effective at preventing and treating the flu. And exposure to disease does build our immune systems- vaccines do not. I disagree with Katie above the the flu shot is our best defense. Good food, handwashing, and general taking care of ourselves are are best defense.

    Just my 2 cents (well, probably more than that- ha!). I think it’s great that you are reaching out for opinions and having a good discussion about it- that’s how we all learn. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks E- I did a LOT of research about this before Stella was born, and Dr. Sears’ book is one of the biggest reasons that I chose to do some vaccines, but not all, and to be more careful about how and when we administered them. There is just SO much bad shit in them – it’s scary!

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  16. We all did. Ethan’s second round is in a couple of weeks. I’d rather take the precaution of it.

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  17. Flu shots for everyone here. I’m allergic to lots of preservatives, and I’ve checked it out, and all vaccines are safe even for me (except the flu shot that gave me 3 hives so no more… alas). We all got the flu during the H1N1 pandemic and it was hell. Just hell for 5 days (and we were SO lucky that it was a short flu and we were “better” quickly). Shots for everyone for sure. The research supports it (and as far as nurses not getting theirs, you might also note that a high percentage of nurses smoke, so I don’t count them as role models of great health although they are a great bunch of people). I promise, I’ve read all the studies on flu shots, and concluded that the risk is tiny and the potential benefit is great. My public health professor is always saying that the flu shot may not keep you from getting the flu, but it will help keep you out of the hospital or the morgue.

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  18. A not insignificant number of children have died from the flu already this year. That might be something to consider, though there’s no reason to give it undue weight. I’m one of those people who believes (and who is confident that studies show) that the risk of not vaccinating when vaccines are available usually outweighs any risk of vaccinating. The flu is usually merely an inconvenience for healthy adults, but it’s a whole different animal for young children. Re. breast milk– Mira never caught anything I had (I catch everything) when she was exclusively breast fed (thanks antibodies!) but that ended when solid foods were introduced even though she still gets a lot of breastmilk straight from me. Ya gotta do what you gotta do; just thought of throw another perpective in the mix.

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    1. I would add, though, as another commenter pointed out, that even if you DID decide to vaccinate Stella, it wouldn’t be effective for her for at least a month. And I hasten to add, that even though I pointed out flu deaths for young children, I did NOT intend to imply that that is in any way LIKELY.

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  19. My question would be, are you comfortable with giving Stella tamiflu? I spaced out Nolans shots too, including the flu, and he got influenza a last week. He tested positive, and I never would have guessed. He doesn’t get sick very often so finding that out was a shock, besides . The dr. Gave him tamiflu, and I had given him two doses before I read that kids can get some bad side effects. I stopped giving it to him, and he was fever free in two days. I feel like I’ve would have been fine if it had run its course, but he has a strong immune system. You have to weigh the options I guess.

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  20. This is such a personal thing. My husband and I didn’t get it (flu shots), never do. We were on the fence with our kids but I really respect my pediatrician and she has a baby 6 months older than ours and I asked if she gave it to her kid and she said yes. So we said yes. And I have been feeling good about that decision. I feel safer having done it. I’ve also instituted hand washing for everyone every time we come back to the house after being in a public place…that feels good too…
    Good luck with your decision!

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  21. I struggled with this one too, but I’ve already seen G in the NICU and I really didn’t want to go through that again, so he got the flu shot. I may not do it once he’s out of the “high risk” group though. I have had the flu twice in 30 years and I feel like it’s a crappy illness, but as long as you have someone around to monitor/take care of you, you drink your fluids, and rest you should be functioning again in about a week.

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  22. Talk about a hot topic 😉

    I didn’t get the flu shot while I was pregnant with E or C. I did get it with this pregnancy because I needed it for school. I also had Elizabeth & Caroline get the shot. I had E get the flu shot every year and I will probably have C do the same.

    I’ve gotten the flu twice in the past 6 years or so and I was dead to the world for 2 days. If I can get the shot and maybe avoid that, I’m in.

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  23. Miss Mac · · Reply

    Sounds like you have your mind made up about Stella and I would have, or I have already, made the same choice. I know several people, kids and adults, who have gotten the flu this year and got the shot/spray. Medical professionals tend to say that it would have been worse without it or that it didn’t work because it was a different strain but that just doesn’t settle well with me. My opinion is that there are too many unknowns. Tough, this parenting business!

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  24. We all got the flu shot in October. I’m very pro-vaccines for a lot of reasons (my study of 18th and 19th century literature and medical writing doesn’t hurt, I’m sure– the invention of vaccination was an incredible gift to humanity), but one of the biggest is the importance of herd immunity for our most vulnerable members of society–newborns, the elderly, and those with chronic immuno-depressing illnesses. In a big city, we live right on top of each other all the time, and while I’m confident I’m healthy and strong enough to survive a bout of the flu without much issue, I can’t say the same for the many strangers I come into contact with on a daily basis. I consider it my civic responsibility to contribute to our group health.

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  25. I have a good friend who works for the CDC on strains of deadly plagues and studies this stuff as her job. Her points to me are after the entire “mercury” scare the CDC removed mercury from all but two of childhood vaccines, the flu being one that still has a trace amount of a mercury derivative. And our immune systems are not exposed anymore to as much bacteria and viruses as compared to when we were more agrarian and interacting with farm animals and such meaning our natural antibodies are not as strong.
    Also the new study that just came out showing that pregnant mothers who didn’t get the flu shot and got the flu while pregnant had a much higher incidence of babies born who had autism. I got it while preggo and Stella just got her first dose of flu vaccine. And I just think that if Stella got the flu, she would pretty much end up in ICU, and I can’t even chance that. 21 people have died already in our state alone. Also there is a new flu shot with a smaller needle and no mercury AT ALL. Not sure if you can get it kids, but might be worth looking into.
    It’s a personal choice, good luck deciding!

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  26. We didn’t get the flu shots this year either. (I never do because of a severe allergic reaction that lead to a shot of Benadryl in my bottom and 48hours of my life that I will never get back from a Benadryl induced coma) My brother is a chiropractor and he told me that in one flu vaccination there is 10% more mercury than a 110# person should get, plus with my history it scares me. We have had flu and RSV at our daycare and only have come out with a bad cold that he probably would have had symptoms for anyways because he is getting his molars. Stay strong sister and do what you feel is right. I just don’t tell anyone that he hasnt had it because I don’t want to be judged!

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