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Should I Get A Flu Shot?

Yes.

if you're among the nearly 90 percent of the public that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems eligible for vaccination against influenza, there are lots of reasons to get the shot, and precious few for avoiding it.

Yes, we know: Last year's flu shot was sorely mismatched to the strain of influenza that ended up circulating. That's a sad fact of the long process required to manufacture flu vaccine: Experts have to take their best guess, based on what strains circulated last flu season and what's circulating in other parts of the world, nearly a year in advance to accommodate the culturing of a key vaccine component in chicken eggs. Until someone finds a better way, we're stuck with that reality.

We also know that even folks who do get a flu shot may still get the flu (though often a milder case than perhaps they would have otherwise), and some will die. And, yes, it's recently come to light that the vaccine may not actually reduce mortality among older people, a benefit touted for years that's now not so clear-cut.

But consider this:

  • Epidemiologists have noted a spike in staph infections -- often deadly -- among children who get the flu. This year the recommended age range for kids receiving flu shots has been extended to cover ages 6 months to 18 years old. Kids from 6 months through 8 years getting their first flu shot need two doses, four weeks apart. (Others in the vaccination target group: pregnant women, folks over fifty, those with certain chronic conditions such as AIDS that make them more vulnerable to flu's ravages, those in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, healthcare workers, and caregivers/household contacts of people at high risk.)
  • New research shows that pregnant women who get flu shots share that protection with their babies once they're born.
  • Cost shouldn't be a barrier. Most insurers cover flu shots; for those who lack coverage, shots are available at walk-in or by-appointment clinics throughout the area for as little as $15 or $25. Look here to search for a clinic near, courtesy of the American Lung Association.
  • Don't like needles? An intranasal vaccine, FluMist, was approved by the FDA in 2003 and has been in use ever since; current recommendations make it available to people ages 2-49. FluMist, manufactured by Gaithersburg's MedImmune, was pricey at first but today costs just a bit more than a shot. To learn more about the vaccine or to find a FluMist provider near you, look here. Some research suggests the nostril shot, which contains a weakened live flu virus, confers even broader protection than a flu shot, which contains a killed flu virus. Neither one causes the flu, by the way.
  • Some providers are making it easier than ever to get vaccinated: These drive-in clinics in Virginia, for instance, don't even require you to get out of the car.
  • Still not convinced? The CDC says the flu leads to 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths a year. A reported 83 children died from the flu in the 2007-2008 flu season.
  • Hedging your bets? Track the progress of this year's flu outbreak on this map. In general, flu season peaks in January or February. But don't wait till the flu's in your backyard to get a shot; while this year's 145 million-dose supply is a record high, it still falls short of the 261 million people targeted by the CDC's recommendations.
  • On the other hand: while there's an abundance of vaccine this year, unlike in recent years, if lots of people don't get their shots, much may go unused. Unused (read: unsold) vaccine this year could spell fewer doses produced -- or higher prices per dose -- next year.
  • Have you had your flu shot yet? Do you plan to get one for yourself or your kids? Have you tried FluMist?

    By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  October 17, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
    Categories:  Life's Big Questions  
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    Comments

    I'm 29 years old and I've never had a flu shot. I've also never had the flu.

    Is this a coincidence? Do I want to press my luck?

    Posted by: Coincidence? | October 17, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

    I have never gotten a flu shot before, but this year I will be getting one for my baby (9 months old) and myself.

    Posted by: Yes! | October 17, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

    I am NOT getting a flu shot. We haven't had a flu epidemic since WWI, and I am NOT going to purposefully make myself sick by taking the shot to "keep from getting" the flu.

    It's bad medicine.

    Posted by: GM123 | October 17, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

    I'm going back on forth on the flu shot for me and my kids this year. I read the benefits, but have my own story. Two years ago, my kids got the shot and a few days later came down with something very flu-like and both missed 4 days of school. Maybe it was just being at the doctor's office for the shot, exposing them to tons of germs, or maybe the shot actually made them sick. Last year, no shots... no flu! Hmmm...

    Posted by: PAC | October 17, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

    I started getting flu shots about 10 years ago due to the fact I was in an office where people were sick all the time. Never regreted that decision and, in fact, already got my flu shot this week.

    Posted by: WI | October 17, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

    It is completely false that the flu shot causes illness. It does not cause the flu. And if you've never had a flu shot and have never gotten the flu, then you are lucky. You are pressing your luck if you continue to NOT get the flu shot.

    To Yes!--good for you for caring enough about your baby's health to do the right thing for her. And for yourself.

    Posted by: commentator3 | October 17, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

    I got my flu shot at a local grocery store, for $28. Mostly, I wanted to make extra-sure that I don't endanger my parents, who are in their 80s. They plan on getting shots too, from their doctor.

    Posted by: Minneapolis, MN | October 17, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

    There is a mercury derivative used as a preservative to which I am allergic. It is also in contact lens fluid. Our local clinic won't stock single dose flu shots so I'm torn between risking an allergic reaction or going without. I may opt for a homeopathic flu prevention which like the flu shot is developed from recent flu strains each year.

    Posted by: dipsy | October 17, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

    I am 20 weeks pregnant and got my flu shot today at work. I also have twin boys who are 21 months old - even more reason for me and everyone who cares of them to get the flu shot.

    Posted by: Ashburn, VA | October 17, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

    I had my first bout with the flu at 30, after years of not getting the flu shot and never getting the flu. I was 100% healthy and active prior to getting the flu, and it took me a good 3-4 weeks to get back to normal. I've been getting the flu shot every year since. Sick for 4 days is nothing compared to sick for 3 weeks.

    Posted by: skm | October 17, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

    Thimerisol is the preservative. Not all flu shots have it though, so check with your doctor.

    Posted by: Thimerisol | October 17, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

    I've never had a flu shot myself. However, this year I'm going to get it for two reasons: 1) I have a 10 month old baby and I wouldn't want to cause him to become sick; 2) I watched an emotional vignette on YouTube that convinced me to do it.

    If you are not swayed, I suggest you check this out http://www.youtube.com/cdcflu.

    Posted by: Jonese | October 17, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

    I have never and will not be getting a flu shot. My experience - purely anecdotal - is that those who get the shot end up with compromised immune systems and get sick with colds, sinus infections and/or strep infections that they had not had for years before getting a flu shot.

    Posted by: Jmat | October 17, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

    Pregnant women need to do some serious research before getting a flu shot, because the CDC has never actually completed ANY study of the efects of Thimeserol on the fetus. There is simply NO DATA out there to indicate it is safe. I am in my third trimester, and by no means do I want to be in a hospital with flu symptoms I have gotten flu shots in the past... However, if there is no Thimeserol-free flu shot available for me this year,I cannot in good onscience introduce it to my unborn child.

    Posted by: Claudlaw | October 17, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

    I started getting them when my kids were little.

    One year son #1 got the flu, then son #2, then I got it. By the time I got sick all my leave was gone and staying home put me in the hole. The next year we all got shots!

    Posted by: RoseG | October 17, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

    Again, what are the reasons for getting a flue shot? Because there is a chance it might prevent you from getting the flu? Where are the stats on this? There aren't any because the flu shot is just a placebo to ease the minds of easily frightened Americans. As this article states, flu vaccines are based on last year's flu strain and the flu is a virus, which you can't kill. So, logically, how can one expect such a vaccination to work at all? This is a classic example of medical herd mentality: everybody should get a flu shot because there is a flu shot available. All the doctors say get a flu shot because, why not? It may not work, but it can't hurt, right? Who knows either way. There are no studies or statistics showing the efficacy of flu shots yet doctors keep on telling us we have to have them. Based on the way our fascist state is progressing, I'm sure in 10 years, flu shots will be mandatory, under penalty of law. In 20 years, a comprehensive study will come out showing that flu shots cause autism or are linked to pancreatic cancer or injection-site sarcoma something. Of course, by then, it will be too late for all the drones who dutifully trudged down to the clinic every year for their flu shots -- and then got the flu anyway.

    Posted by: TruthMakerer | October 17, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

    Prior to being pregnant, I didn't get flu shots. Since my son (2) has mild asthma, we all get the shots now. I got mine today; son & husband get theirs within a week.

    Posted by: Kat | October 17, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

    Nope, no flu shot. Both times I got it, I got extremely sick. I still got mildly ill in the years that I didn't get the shot, but nothing like what I got when DID get the shot. I'm not pregnant, I don't have kids, I don't spend time around kids, and I don't have elderly relatives, so I won't be around people who are more at risk than the average adult.

    Posted by: Scarlet | October 17, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

    Maybe you believe your tinfoil hat will protect you from the flu.

    Posted by: to TruthMakerer | October 17, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

    You CANNOT contract an illness from a vaccine made with a killed virus. If you got sick soon after your shot, it could only have been because you'd already been infected with the virus before your vaccination.

    Posted by: to Scarlet | October 17, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

    My family have never and will never get the flu shot. Truthmakerer took the words right out of my mouth. It's an unnecessary money making scheme that I'm not interested in.

    Posted by: gr8d8 | October 18, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

    I've never had a flu shot; 57 years so far and I'm not starting now. The whole idea is not solid statistically and makes a TON of money for the drug companies.

    Posted by: citromike | October 18, 2008 1:39 AM | Report abuse

    I regret ever getting a flu shot, and haven't had one in 18 years.

    Google Thiomersal (or Thimerosal) and see if you like what they're giving you.

    According to one article I recently read, fully half the flu shots for this year still have this poisonous mercuric compound.

    Maybe you'll get lucky. Flip the coin.

    Or start eating hot peppers and garlic during the cold and flu season and laugh at the snifflers!

    Posted by: Symphony Sid | October 18, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

    TruthMakerer fascist state in ten years(more like 4yrs), your being optimistic. You know if flu shots(or any kind of shot with mercury and other poisons in them) cause autism it doesn't matter. The dumbed down public will listen to what ever their masters say. Americans are like sheep to the slaughter!

    No I will not be getting a flu shot and never will. Even if there is a flu pandemic, I wouldn't get it. The government can't even give you an updated strain of flu in the shot. What makes you think if there is a flu pandemic killing people, that out of nowhere they will have the cure?
    hey, the t.v just told me that mercury is good for you. I'm going to put some in my bowl of cereal everyday from now on. I'm such a good slave. :)

    Posted by: Aspartame,u.s.s.a | October 18, 2008 1:49 AM | Report abuse

    Thimerosol- MERCURY perservative in all vaccines.....MERCURY is highly toxic to the body.. stay away from vaccines of any kind....

    Research it for yourself!!

    Posted by: Nurse | October 18, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

    To Dipsy: we went to our doctors office for flu shots yesterday, and they were able to offer us a preservative-free flu shot. I think it is primarily offered to children and nursing moms, but perhaps you could get it if you explained your concerns.

    Posted by: Minerva | October 18, 2008 1:55 AM | Report abuse

    Multi use flu vaccines vial have enough organic mercury to give you an elevated risk of autism, multiple sclerosis, alzhemer's disease, lou gherig's disease, and parkinson's disease. why would you poison yourself anymore than you have to? Do not get vaccinated until they remove the mercury.

    Posted by: truth | October 18, 2008 2:01 AM | Report abuse

    I've never had the flu, except for the two years in which I got the flu shot. I will never get it again. This is direct first hand experience for me, versus trusting a third party "authority".

    The flu shots are big business, and the corporatacracy makes billions a year off of us.

    Your body is more than capable of dealing with the flu if it comes your way assuming you don't confuse your immune system with false negatives.

    SAY NO! LIVE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT FEAR! Love yourself as you love others.

    Posted by: Casey | October 18, 2008 2:19 AM | Report abuse

    I meant to say "false positives"

    Posted by: Casey | October 18, 2008 2:24 AM | Report abuse

    There's more mercury in the food most people eat, especially fish, to say nothing of the air they breathe and the water they drink, than they'll ever get from flu shots. It's true that mercury is hazardous, but giving this as a reason to avoid vaccination is like arguing that you shouldn't drive a car in order to avoid the carbon monoxide from the exhaust. Better to deal with the ubiquity of this poison in the larger environment than to get hung up on a rather minor instance of exposure to it.

    Posted by: Zoen Aionion | October 18, 2008 2:45 AM | Report abuse

    I've never had a flu shot since I've been an adult. I've really never gotten the flu since I've been an adult. I've also been HIV positive for nearly ten years--never gotten the flu. I treat myself with herbal medicine, never gotten sick from my HIV. Don't go off an fill yourself full of that crap. And don't believe anybody who makes blanket statements, such as, "A dead virus can't make you sick," which fly in the face of your own as well as everybody else's experience. Just Say No, to vaccines. Makes yourself stronger with natural things which work. And take your risks. It's not like the people who DO get flu shots and other allopathic prophylactic and direct treatments don't get sick and die all the time. Remember, nearly 100% of the people who die from cancer in America do so under the care of the state of the art of Western medicine.

    Posted by: FreeLiver | October 18, 2008 2:51 AM | Report abuse

    It is kinda funny---people think that a flu shot will "prevent" you from getting sick or contracting a virus.

    A flu shot, regardless of anything will not do that.

    If it was true....then we wouldn't have the various medicines otc or by prescription.

    I avoid flu shots and I haven't been "ill" in over 19 years. Coincidence????

    Posted by: Cali_Dude | October 18, 2008 2:52 AM | Report abuse

    In the long term, flu shots make society as a whole MORE susceptable to deadly epidemics for one simple reason: genetic diversity. If a large population has similar defenses and vulnerabilities, there is motivation in nature to zero-in on such vulnerabilities for the maximum benefit of the parasite. If your immune system is responding to specific threats, then it is less responsive to more random threats. Evolution has illustrated this throughout time that monocultures disappear. Sharing the same vaccine among millions of people is effectively developing a monoculture.

    Posted by: Tim C | October 18, 2008 3:18 AM | Report abuse

    From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal):
    More than 5,000 U.S. families have filed claims in a federal vaccine court alleging autism was caused by vaccines, most implicating thiomersal; the majority of these claims are still being adjudicated.

    Posted by: Chung | October 18, 2008 3:36 AM | Report abuse

    Vaccines are made from weakened viruses, and certain protein parts from them, and yes--any doctor will tell you that you may get mildly to at least moderately sick. I've never gotten the flu vaccine, have a somewhat weak immune system, and am not planning on getting it (nor for my 4 year-old). A good diet and common sense will go a whole lot farther, and what if everyone (and their children) covered their mouths when coughing and sneezing, used tissues, washed their hands properly with soap and water, etc? We could probably close entire hospitals. After all--that's where you go to die, whether they admit you or not.

    Posted by: K England | October 18, 2008 3:37 AM | Report abuse

    I understood that folks over fifty should get a flu shot in two doses four weeks apart. I am 78 years old and have always received a single shot. I would like to continue only one shot and would like your advice.

    Posted by: jreynolds | October 18, 2008 5:19 AM | Report abuse

    I am pregnant and I wouldn't miss getting my flu shot for the *world*. Not only can I protect myself, I can protect my forthcoming progeny.

    And by making sure my daughter gets a shot, I can protect her grandparents and the grandparents of all her friends.

    How cool is that?

    Until we can convince people of the *scientific facts* that the amount of mercury in the shot is minimal and besides, it DOESN'T CAUSE AUTISM...we'll never make a dent in the 36,000 deaths in the US every year.

    Sure, the flu shot isn't as effective as, say, the polio vaccine, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It just means that we need to work harder to create that vital herd immunity.

    Posted by: Mara | October 18, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

    After receiving the flu shot, I was unable to move my arm for days. Thankfully, my arm healed although I am left with permanent nerve pain (manageable). As I was a very busy young mother to 3 baby boys, I did not report it. I believe I am not alone in my experience and that many side effects go unreported. No flu shot for me or for anyone in my family - and I am the daughter of a doctor and nurse!

    Posted by: Deirdre | October 18, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

    For those of you who are worried about the amount of Thimersol in flu vaccine, please keep in mind that you probably ingest more mercury eating sushi and canned tuna than you ever will get via a flu shot.

    I'm an asthmatic, and the consequences of getting a cold or the flu are far greater than getting one shot each year with killed virus strains. A few years ago, I missed over 10 weeks of work because I got the flu before I could get vaccinated. I'll take my chances with the vaccine.

    Posted by: SheTurtle | October 18, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

    To SheTurtle:

    Can you back up your assertions regarding mercury with any research or statistics?
    I am sure all pregnant women would like to know where you got your info.

    Posted by: Sam | October 18, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

    There are a lot of scary, dangerous, misinformed comments on this post about the alleged risks of the flu vaccine. You really should have a vaccine expert, someone who understands evidence, to address these, and counter the conspiracy theorists. How about an interactive chat?

    Posted by: Reine de Saba | October 18, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

    Given the track record of W's reign the last 'gift' this administration may bestow
    on us will probably be a pandemic...I am
    getting a flu shot!

    Posted by: garyaber@msn.com | October 18, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

    It's really not a question of conspiracy theory, actually. And honestly, what is "conspiracy theory" supposed to mean anyway? Is the use of this catchphrase supposed to invalidate the existence of conspiracies in public life? If so, then it probably should be retired because conspiracies are a proven way of life in politics, business, war and relationships and have been since the dawn of recorded history. But alternative points of view which challenge orthodox opinions, such as those discussed here regarding the dangers of vaccines, needn't have anything to do with conspiracies, but simply inadequate science which is put forth as definitive but is invalidated via personal experience, of oneself or others one knows. And while this episodic or anecdotal evidence is not considered definitive from the standpoint of rigorously repeated experimentation, to ignore such evidence is not only unscientific, it's patently anti-scientific. I say people should trust their guts and not be cowed down by arrogant bluster. We have had more than enough evidence to show that people in positions of authority are often either perfectly incompetent or downright evil. Don't be afraid to do the unusual if you have good cause to.

    Posted by: FreeLiver | October 18, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

    For those of you that don't get the shot a couple words of advice;
    If you get the flu don't expect sympathy for those of that got the shot, don't come to work sick and share your gift with us, and don't expect us to cover for you at work.

    Posted by: jj | October 18, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

    I believe that most experts on flu recommend the flu shot. The flu shot is even recommended in the U.K.

    Link: http://cks.library.nhs.uk/immunizations_influenza/management/quick_answers/scenario_prevention_flu_vaccination/view_full_scenario_no_prescriptions

    I have taken the flu shot every year since the 1970s and have not had any flu issues for years. I took the flu shot last week with no pain in the arm, no illness, and no flu so far.

    Posted by: dj | October 18, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

    What about those that get the shot, get sick from it, come to work and infect everybody else? Is that any better? Or is it worse? Because your over-confidence and acceptance of the status quo coupled with its abject error creates even more confusion, damage and bold misdirection. It's one thing to present yourself as infallible, as many doctors and scientists do, perhaps they inherited this from the Pope, but it's another thing entirely to present yourself as infallible and then reveal yourself to be a self-blinded incompetent whose foolishness harms if not kills others, perhaps many others. And is this not already the state of affairs regarding many FDA-approved medications? Are they not being constantly recalled because, even after all of these purportedly sacrosanct tests, they still kill people? Lots of them? Any sane person should look at this state of affairs with not only deep concern and reservation, but with a self-invested do-it-yourself point of view as if your life depends on it, because, as a matter of fact, it does.

    Posted by: Freeliver | October 18, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

    The level of misinformation regarding vaccines that people subscribe too is quite frankly terrifying. Vaccines are not created to hurt people, to make money, or to "cause" autism. Herd immunity is essential in preventing a large outbreak of any disease, and the more people who resist getting a vaccine because of some BS reason they read on the internet are putting the rest of us at risk. If homeopathy and other pseudoscience treatments were truly effective, don't you think they'd be a part of modern medicine? We live in an era where scientific studies are continually evaluating the efficacy of all sorts of treatments, and the things from CAM that are effective have been incorporated into treatment regimens.

    I'm all for being proactive in taking care of one's health, but some of the stuff on this board is absurd. Mercury causes ALS? What planet are you from? All of these theories are being spouted from people who haven't taken a science class since their freshman year of high school. Don't be surprised when your doctor rolls their eyes at you when do you get sick and want help.

    Posted by: Shia | October 18, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

    I am 58 years old. I am rarely sick. I even went two years not long ago without even a cold and I work retail. All the years I was raising my kids through their inevitable illnesses, colds, fevers, intestinal ravages I NEVER got sick. Last year I got the flu. First time. It was HORRIBLE. It struck like a Mac truck and I was in bed within three hours. Barely made it home from work. I stayed in bed with a fever and the most horrible body aches for 4 days. I had never been as sick as this flu since I got the Red Measels in 1960. You bet that this year I am getting the flu shot which is provided free by my employer.

    Posted by: Maureen | October 18, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

    For all of you with asthma, respiratory disease, weak immune systems, or weak minds, go get your flu shot.

    Just be sure to say Baaa when they stick you with the needle.

    I don't get the flu shots and I don't get the flu.

    Posted by: JustanAmerican | October 18, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

    jj said "For those of you that don't get the shot a couple words of advice;
    If you get the flu don't expect sympathy for those of that got the shot, don't come to work sick and share your gift with us, and don't expect us to cover for you at work."

    And for all of you that get the shot and give it to your kids, don't expect sympathy from me when you kid goes walking into a wall bacause of the autism you've given him. And don't expect me to pay for his/her upkeep the next 60 years.

    Posted by: Popeye | October 18, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

    I am just getting over the flu myself. I am a perfectly healthy 37yr old male. It nearly killed me. I won't miss a flu shot for the rest of my life. I swear. I don't ever want to go through that again.

    Posted by: Matt | October 18, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

    I'm in my 89th year - never had the flu - been getting a flu shot for at least the past ten years. Wear my seat belt every time I drive my car too. Some things you do because it would be stupid not to.

    Posted by: John T. Wilson | October 18, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

    Re: Deirdre | October 18, 2008 8:02 AM

    "After receiving the flu shot, I was unable to move my arm for days. Thankfully, my arm healed although I am left with permanent nerve pain (manageable)... I did not report it. I believe I am not alone in my experience and that many side effects go unreported."


    I have also had an experience with arm immobility and nerve pain after a flu shot - the ONE year I did get the flu shot, my arm was damaged in the same way that Deirdre (quoted below) described.

    Only difference is that I did report it - IMMEDIATELY - and was told over and over that whatever was wrong with my arm had nothing to do with the shot - it was "impossible."

    OK, I am a PhD, my dad is an MD... in short, I'm not an idiot, and I don't come from idiots. If my arm suddenly becomes unusable 5 seconds after someone gives me a flu shot, there is no question that the injection was the precipitating event.

    Anyway, my dad got one of his doc buddies to see me about my damaged arm. He also couldn't see how the flu shot could have caused it, but you know what else he said? He said "Why the hell are you getting a flu shot anyway? I wouldn't recommend that to anyone."

    As you have probably guessed, after that, I never got another flu shot. I have also never had the flu.

    So there's my case study - you're not alone, Deirdre. :)

    Posted by: dk | October 18, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

    My husband & I and 2 sons got the flu several years ago - the kids ran 105 fevers for 5 days. My 18 month old was right at the point where the enamel for his permanent teeth was developing. It was all destroyed by the high fever. His teeth are a mess (cavities because they are 'soft', discolored, weak). He will have crowns on 4 molars before he is 18. So the flu can have life-long consequences.It is not just a bad cold... We all get our flu shots now and have not had it since then.

    Posted by: mamabear | October 18, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

    Is the flu a serious illness? Yes, it can be, no doubt. I have the flu once, and it was much worse than a cold. However, I will never, ever, willingly consent to have a flu shot. My Reasons? Ninety-Three percent of the flu shot supply consists of shots with 25 mcg of brain- damaging ethyl mercury. Our elected officials have not done right by us by having it removed. Each time you inject a virus whether live or killed into your bloodstream it is an unnatural assault on your immune system. Our bodies are not equipped, over millions of years of evolution, to deal with this type of assault. That is why some of us (even in this very blog) report developing flu-like symptoms right after receiving the flu shot. Finally, the flu is not "THE flu" but rather 300 plus types of flu viruses and the annual flu shot is an unreliable guess at which three of those hundreds of different flu strains will circulate in any given year. Many times those strains chosen are not protective at all. Viruses evolve and change at a far more rapid pace than our scientists and doctors could ever hope to track and target. At least I know that I have lifetime immunity to the particularly nasty strain of flu I had once. With any vaccination, there is no guarantee of any kind of lifetime immunity, just a guarantee you will need a lifetime of booster shots.

    I hope that our rights are not taken away from us in making what should be a personal and private medical decision (to vaccinate or not vaccinate), but I, too, fear that as with each additional vaccine mandate for our children, we adults will also be mandated to receive the flu vaccine whether we want it, whether it is right for us, or not.

    Posted by: Nonyart | October 19, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

    I think it should be mandatory that any person employed at schools, medical and nursing facilities and institutional settings such as prisons an military facilities should be vaccinated by law or forfit their jobs. Influenza epidemic is a public health and strategic national security issue

    Posted by: who what where | October 20, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

    simply request a vaccine that is thimerisol free - your MD can order it for you. Also, FluMist is perservative free, easy to take and arguably more effective.

    As you all know the vaccine changes every year, so does the effectiveness. All in all it is a good vaccine, but will not prevent you from getting the common cold. The flu (Infuenza A) is a very serious infection that will make you very sick. Many people who have a bad cold say they have the flu - they don't. The flu is horrible and will render you disfunctional for at least a week.

    The vaccine may give you the side effects of a common cold.


    Posted by: jweiss | October 20, 2008 2:18 AM | Report abuse

    There are 12.5 micrograms of mercury in a dose of thimerosal-containing flu vaccine that is given to infants. A can of tuna typically has about 11 micrograms. You have to put these things in perspective.

    If you do not want to catch something when you get your flu shot, get it done at a library or grocery store, rather than at a doctor's office or urgent care clinic. And wash your hands. The shot cannot give you the flu, but the surrounding sick people can give you plenty of other things.

    Posted by: Laura | October 20, 2008 3:43 AM | Report abuse

    Yeah, the news papers and the government told you to do it so it must be a good idea!!! Just like the bailout. Keep going Americans, you've almost reached the bottom!!!

    Posted by: B | October 20, 2008 4:04 AM | Report abuse

    The CDC isn't being honest, even if you search their own facts on the subject - which worries me. If it was such a great thing why would they feel compelled to lie to get people vaccinated?

    They lump flu and pneumonia together; flu is caused by a virus, pneumonia by bacteria.

    Yes, if a patient with the flu does not rest and is not cared for properly, pneumonia can set in - and through inaction, or delayed action kill a patient.

    That's an issue of having an inept health care system, and a hesitation to go to the doctor when one should because of the lousy medical insurance schemes we have. It has nothing to do with getting vaccines which "may or may not protect you from getting the flu" which "may cause adverse reactions for those allergic", and in the case of the nasal spray may actually even GIVE you the flu!!!

    But don't take my word for it, go check the CDC site and make your own decision. Its a scam - I don't know what they are up to but it isn't preventing flu "deaths."

    Posted by: Nothing Adds Up | October 20, 2008 4:38 AM | Report abuse

    Recently the Netherlands (due to a fear that thimerosol caused autism) removed it from all vaccines. The result was no change in the number of autism diagnoses.

    Posted by: Teachaman | October 20, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

    NO flu shot for me. I just don't care. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, I'll take my chances. Catch me 50 years from now when there's a greater body of scientific evidence and I might be swayed.

    As for now, I'm taking my chances with Mother Nature and if I get sick I'll enjoy a few days of General Hospital while reclining in my bed.

    Posted by: Rebekah | October 20, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

    Way to go Rebekah!

    I'm a Days of Our Lives woman myself, but like you, I'll not waste my time with this rot. If I get the flu.. so what? I've gotten it in the past and it wasn't half as bad as the tims I've gotten food poisoning.

    Eh, just a nice way for the drug manufacturers to get profit from the herd, and it's mentality.

    Posted by: foodandart | October 20, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

    The science “fiction” of this article is ridiculous.

    1) “Epidemiologists have noted a spike in staph infections -- often deadly -- among children who get the flu.”
    This is utter scare tactics and completely avoidable by taking care of yourself which will benefit yourself and significantly reduce your risk of contracting the flu without the use of vaccines.

    2) “New research shows that pregnant women who get flu shots share that protection with their babies once they're born."
    This can never be scientifically proven. The effectiveness of the vaccine is NEVER known. It is also never known if individuals are ever actually exposed to a virus. Saying the vaccine prevented an illness is a lie if the individual is never actually exposed.

    3) “Don't like needles? An intranasal vaccine, FluMist, was approved by the FDA in 2003 and has been in use ever since; current recommendations make it available to people ages 2-49”
    This is a live virus, so everyone who uses this is an ACTIVE carrier of influenza for three weeks. These individuals actually INCREASE the risks of contracting influenza to everyone around them for a period of three weeks.

    4) “The CDC says the flu leads to 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths a year. A reported 83 children died from the flu in the 2007-2008 flu season.”
    The CDC does not accurately or actually track the number of deaths or hospitalization. The 36,000 is completely invalid because it has never been updated or changed due to population or vaccine and was originally calculated prior to improvements in medical outcomes of influenza cases. The CDC only tracks influenza like illness which may or may not be ACTUAL influenza cases. A vast majority of deaths also have other medical (comorbid) conditions that contributed MORE to the death then the actual influenza.

    5) “On the other hand: while there's an abundance of vaccine this year, unlike in recent years, if lots of people don't get their shots, much may go unused. Unused (read: unsold) vaccine this year could spell fewer doses produced -- or higher prices per dose -- next year.”
    Once again, another unscientific scare tactic to increase the demand for an unnecessary medical procedure. Demand has been relative constant from year to year at around 96 million for the USA. If the manufacturer is so completely incompetent to be able to determine the demand for their product, they should not be allowed to extort from the population for their incompetence, they should be allowed to fail.

    1999 was the last time anyone in my family had a flu or the influenza vaccine.

    Posted by: Chuck | October 20, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

    “There are 12.5 micrograms of mercury in a dose of thimerosal-containing flu vaccine that is given to infants. A can of tuna typically has about 11 micrograms. You have to put these things in perspective.”

    The 11 micrograms of mercury in the tuna also passes through the digestive tract which has increased filtration compared to the 12.5 micrograms in the vaccine which bypasses all those filters and is absorbed directly into the blood stream.

    “Recently the Netherlands (due to a fear that thimerosol caused autism) removed it from all vaccines. The result was no change in the number of autism diagnoses.”

    Recently in the Netherlands would actually be 1992, the same year that there was a huge diagnostic change that caused an administrative increase in autism, making it impossible to actually determine if the removal of thimerosal would have decreased the number of cases.

    Posted by: Chuck | October 20, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

    For those who still believe that the FDA and CDC have fully vetted the flu vaccine because, golly gee, the government is serious about keeping the population as healthy as possible, one need only look at the lies surrounding marijuana. Because of political ideology, corporate special interests, and yes, herd mentality, the true benefits and negatives of marijuana have never been researched -- or at least the true results of that research have never been made public. I'm not making a case for marijuana legalization here, I'm just saying that just because our compromised regulatory agencies say it's good or bad, doesn't necessarily make it so. It is up to each individual to inform themselves and then make their own decision based on their findings. It is clear to me that there is no evidence supporting the effectiveness of flu shots. Conversely, common sense dictates that if you put a harmful substance into a healthy body, all kinds of crazy $h!t can happen.

    Posted by: TruthMakerer | October 20, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

    Popeye, you sound like quite the compassionate little lamb.

    Posted by: Derpaderp | October 20, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

    Healthy individuals are not at risk of dying from the flu - nor are their chances of getting the flu reduced by getting this fraudulent treatment.

    The vast majority of deaths from the flu occur in the elderly after the virus weakens their bodies enough for the bacterial infection of pneumonia to set in. If this shot does indeed work, it should be given to the elderly - "vaccinating" the rest of us makes no sense.

    Furthermore 2-3 children dying from complications from the flu is tragic, but if every child was injected with this vaccination, the number of allergic reactions and permanently disabled will be far greater.

    The immune system of some people, ends up attacking the central nervous system while trying to deal with the foreign dead virus material injected into the body.

    Do your research people!!! These newspapers and this government are the ones that sold us 2 bogus wars, sent thousands of our troops to their deaths, and got us to payroll their shoddy investments - which our great grand children will still be paying off. Don't trust anything they say - check it first.

    Posted by: More lies from the Government | October 21, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

    every post marketing study, including the Cochrane review, has shown that the flu vaccine has absolutely no effect on hospitalization/death rates for the elderly and the very young. But by all means, keep trying to scare folks into taking this 0% effective shot! Guess supply and demand doesn't count when it comes to big pharma's vaccines.

    Posted by: Sarah | October 21, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

    Last year the clinic ran out of inactive flu vaccine and only had two doses left. One inactive and one active (live). I have muscular dystrophy and my daughter has asthma. If I got the flu it could relapse my quadriplegia, if she got it it could kill her and neither of us could have the live version. So she got the shot and I didn't. She did not get the flu the whole year. I caught two strains of the flu, one month apart from each other, both strains had been in the vaccine, and I was crippled again.

    This year we are getting our shots early in the season and I did so yesterday. Yes my arm hurts, yes I have nerve pain and yes I feel awful today, but odds are that the flu won't kill or cripple me this year because I did get the shot.

    Like John T. Nelson said above: sometimes you do things because it would be stupid not to do them.

    Posted by: Mom | October 21, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

    This article isn't very convincing, but I am getting a flu shot today anyway. My wife is due to have our new son in 2 weeks, and I'm doing it for him. I have never gotten a flu shot before.

    Posted by: Nox | October 22, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

    Also - I am far from being a sheep. I am a far-left liberal atheist and extremely anti-corporate. I do not trust our government, nor any major institution, because they are all indeed corrupt. However, I was a biology major in college, so I know the benefits of vaccination. I hate the fact that it is a tool for profit, and I firmly believe in socialized medicine.

    I am not convinced that the flu shot will be very effective, but I think it's better than nothing. I wouldn't get the shot if it weren't for my baby. However, I am for vaccination in general. I just don't know about the flu shot.

    Posted by: Nox | October 22, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

    "Yes my arm hurts, yes I have nerve pain and yes I feel awful today, but odds are that the flu won't kill or cripple me this year because I did get the shot."

    Last year's odds were only 40% in your favor, with co morbid conditions. There is no learning curve on improving the effectiveness from year to year. This year could have a lower effective rate.

    Posted by: Chuck | October 22, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

    Nox,

    Make sure that she demands a "Thimerosal Free" vaccine (Only 6% of last year's supply was).

    Even if the vaccine doesn't work, at least your baby will not be exposed to neurotoxins in her bloodstream.

    Posted by: Chuck | October 22, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

    Like some of the other commenters, I started getting the flu shot after I skipped it one year and then got the flu.

    That year, I was so sick with the flu for an entire week that I had to nap after eating. The act of lifting a spoon to my mouth was exhausting.

    I understand that the flu shot won't prevent me from getting the flu 100%, but anything to reduce my odds of getting that sick is worth it to me.

    Posted by: wertia | October 24, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

    I recently just completed an evidenced based nursing research class and feel very confident with my research skills. However, as a mother of two girls a one year old and a six year old, I still have not found enough evidence to convince me either way. I want to protect my children and do what is best for them, so does that mean get the flu shot and protect them from the flu and also risk getting the horrifying side effects? Or, not get the flu shots and risk them getting the flu, possibly being hospitalized and getting pneumonia or a staph infection? Is it just that it is a lose-lose situation either way? I'm just not sure, I think by the time I make up my mind flu season will be over!

    Posted by: momof2girls | October 24, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

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