This week I asked readers if they would/have gotten a flu shot – and if not, why not?
OK – I messed up. Well, not in an unusual way. I used the term flu shot and H1N1 virus in the same sentence, without acknowledging that there IS a difference between the two. And, frankly, some readers made a distinction in their responses (though not many). As one reader noted, ” Would have been more useful if you separated out questions about the seasonal flu shot vs. the H1N1 flu shot (which isn’t yet available, and may not be available to employers for quite a while). I fear you may be unintentionally spreading ignorance (and fear) by the way you phrased the introduction to the question, but then just used “flu shot”, without providing the now-necessary identifiers. If you need more into – visit the CDC site.”
And I would encourage any/all to do so at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
But, regarding the results – an roughly 72% of this week’s respondents said they were planning on getting a flu shot this year, and about two-thirds of that group was going to get those shots at work (as one reader observed, “It would be much harder to get one if they weren’t given out for free at work. I don’t care that they’re free; it’s the convenience of getting one at work that I like” ).
Just over 24% said they were not going to get that shot, while the remaining 4% weren’t sure.
Now, just in case you were wondering (as I was) how that compared with last year, the percentages of this week's respondents who said they had gotten a flu shot last year was about the same (though slightly more at work, a just few less outside of work). However, nearly a third said they hadn't gotten one last year - though nearly 4% said they had wanted to, but wasn't able to.
And - when I asked this question last November just under 70% not only said that they were planning to get a shot, two-thirds of THAT group were planning on getting those at work (see SURVEY SAYS: Have/Will You Get a Flu Shot? )
Did that prior experience this year's decision? Well, there things were pretty well split - between no impact ( 45.7% ) and a favorable experience ( 52.4% ). Less than 2% said that last year's experience had influenced their decision unfavorably.
That said, I also asked those who were not going to get a shot to share the rationale/reasoning behind that decision.
Of this group, the most common response(s) were those who believed it was better to develop their own immunities and those who were "worried about the side effects" of that shot. The second-most common responses were those who said 'I don't get sick", those who were "not part of an at-risk population", and those who said that they or someone they knew had gotten sick from the vaccine.
But of course, the very most cited response - was more than one of those listed above. However, as one reader noted, "I still hear a lot of people say no shot for them as the shots MAKE people sick. That used to be true for me when live viruses were used, but of course that has changed with the use of "dead" viruses in making the shots. I keep telling people that, hoping more of them will utilize the opportunities to receive a shot, sometimes for free. A shot is much better than a round (or two) of the flu."
Lots of interesting verbatim this week - here are my favorites:
"Little ones at home. We will all be getting shots."
"I always get my flu shot. I'm one of those people that the virus seems to love. Lucky me. My sister never gets them. She's a carrier. We spend a lot of time together. Lucky me again."
"There is something about turning 55 (and older) that makes flu shots much more important. I'm not saying I'm old, but...."
But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the reader who noted, "It's not about swine flu, it's the thought of the amount of work that will pile up if I go out sick!"
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!
I experienced an allergic reaction to a flu vaccine many years ago and have been advised by my physician not to get any. I landed in the Emergency Room, so my "free" flu shot was quite expensive! I just wash my hands a lot, don't share my pen or my phone and steer clear of sickies! So far, it has worked!
Since we had a baby this past spring, last year's decision had no influence on this year's decision...
So far there is some indication that 1) the preservatives in the H1N1 serum have been linked to bad nerve damage (see: Gulf War Syndrome from the '90's) and 2) the general old usual flu shots are almost NEVER correctly determined to address the 'current' strain of flu going around.
I only got the flu once and that was in the only year that I got the shot.
I (generally) don't get sick, I HATE needles, and I bet if I am going to get sick, it because most of the people around get sick and will give it to me regardless of whether I have a shot. Years ago, my mother contacted Gillium Barre after a flu shot. I will never get one and will never recommend one.
The H1N1 vaccine is being developed under pressure and in such a short time that I have no confidence that it will be effective and safe.
I've received flu shots in the past and still gotten sick (especially 2008). However, since I have a 1-year-old I figure any defense is better than none....it is amazing how many little sicknesses kiddos pick up and share.
I only end up getting the flu in years that I DO get a flu shot! Not to mention that the regular flu vaccine won't even protect us against the more common H1N1 strain this year.
My flu shot was given too high on the arm and I had pain for 5 months. In spite of the pain I had, it was not as bad as the flu. I once had the flu for a week, complete with fever, chills, aching from head to toe and various other ailments. I am scared silly that I would get it again, so I will endure other pain to avoid the dreaded flu.
Usually, I don't get sick. Years ago, the one year I got a flu shot, I got the flu that year.
Build our own natural immunities??? So maybe we shouldn't give children vaccines for whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps or rubella. Why don't we bring back small pox and polio and let our "natural immunities" take care of those problems? It will only result in a few thousand deaths and many more disabled children, but it may result in a better gene pool with fewer diseases in the long run...right? Who wants to be the first in line to risk their children?
I have never had a flu shot and don't believe I need to start now. I am, however, taking an Echinacea supplement to help improve my immunity, as I ride public transportation to get to work.
Flu shots have egg in them. I would be sicker from the allergic reaction to the egg than the flu itself (in most cases). Some chemist out there needs to figure this dilemma out.
Many reasons: allergies to eggs are the primary one thus not recommended. But I skipped it for my 13-year-old as well. We're not at risk; we have good basic habits...and I always think very thoroughly on every vaccine around. We can "tough it out" and let nature take its course.
The only time I contracted the flu in recent memory was the year there was insufficient vaccine for the general population, so I couldn't be inoculated. I developed pneumonia as a complication and was sick for weeks. People who resist inoculation against communicable disease - for no good reason - are risking their lives (and those around them).
I think it is just good practice to mitigate your risk because of other people's self-centeredness and poor judgment. People around here come to work even when they are sick. I know at least one person who continued to come in even though her husband had been diagnosed with H1N1, and she had the exact same symptoms. She justified continuing to come to work by not going to the doctor to receive confirmation that she had the same thing her husband had. Another employee passed away last month from flu complications that turned into pneumonia - and she was only 41. So people - if you are sick, get to a doctor and STAY HOME. Lots of people have depressed immune systems and you are not doing anyone any favors. Better one person out ill than taking down the whole department/company.
My son has diabetes, so all of us will be getting regular and swine flu shots as soon as possible.
The only time in the last ten years (maybe longer) I didn't get the flu shot; I got the flu so I don't miss it even if I have to pay for it myself!
I just hope that the H1N1 vaccine becomes available before a pandemic envelops the US.
If it wasn't offered at work, I probably wouldn't get one. Too inconvenient otherwise (and I'm generally very healthy)
Generally, on the advice of an occupational medicine MD, we will wait until mid-November to provide flu shots for employees since the height of the flu season doesn't start here (locally) until February and providing flu shots too soon can cause the vaccine to be ineffective.
Not going to get an H1N1 shot though -- just the "regular" flu shot. I don't think the H1N1 vaccine has been tested thoroughly, and I'm in an age group that doesn't seem as badly affected by the H1N1 as other age groups.
It's not about swine flu; it's the thought of the amount of work that will pile up if I go out sick!
I missed one year and got very sick - lost my voice, cough that dragged on for weeks. I always get the shot before I start my fall business travels. It is because of my travels that I miss the date for company-provided flu shots.
Our company is going to sponsor flu shots this year with the occupational clinic we use coming in to administer on-site shots. We will see how many people sign up. I've already heard rumblings that some people think the shot makes you sick, etc. But we will shoot as many people as possible.
It's amazing to me that more people don't get an annual flu shot - it's simple, quick, and relatively painless. The excuses I've heard from people who refuse to get them speak to how strongly misconceptions can plant themselves in people's heads. The flu shot won't make you sick, people!
Got a shot last year but I still got the flu. I'll get one again this year and hope for a better result.
I was hoping to get the flu shot yesterday during an appointment with my doctor, but he hasn't received his order yet. The H1N1 hindered the production and has delayed distribution to physician offices, although pharmacies across the country have had their orders filled. I don't get it! He said that since pharmacies deal directly with manufacturers, they get their orders filled first. I can go to a pharmacy in a grocery store and get it for free, or wait until his order is filled, and get charged again for another visit. This is a course in milking the patient!
My employers offer the shot free to anyone who chooses to do so. I have definitely seen an improvement in my health during flu season since I began getting the shot several years ago.
In 1984 I had the then current type A flu followed immediately by the then current type B flu. After being sick for a week I have been getting a flu shot every year since 1985, and I have not had the flu since then. I even got a flu shot at the end of 2004, the year when there was only a limited supply of flu vaccine available in the United States, the year health actuaries are not supposed to talk about since it would substitute a derogatory fact for the oft-repeated impression that we have the finest health care system in the world. All I did was take a vacation in the French Caribbean, and obtained the inoculation at the first "bureau de mÃ©decine" down the street from my hotel.
The last couple times I've gotten a flu shot I didn't get the "slight flu-like symptoms" they describe when they give you the shot. I got the full blown flu and missed a week of work instead. So, I guess I'll take my chances!
You quote "I or someone else has gotten sick from the vaccine". At least you didn't say that someone got the flu from the vaccine. As the person who, in the past, has been responsible for setting up the flu shots at work for our employees, I have to argue this all the time. You don't get the flu from the vaccine. Everyone has an anecdotal example of someone who got sick and it happened to occur at or about the time the shot was administered. Most of the time it's not even the flu and they don't even want to talk about the hundreds of thousands of people who didn't become sick from the vaccine. This kind of misinformation is like saying because President Obama promotes universal healthcare coverage, he is a socialist...OK, maybe that's not a good example.
I always get my flu shot. I'm one of those people that the virus seems to love. Lucky me. My sister never gets them. She's a carrier. We spend a lot of time together. Lucky me again.
Little ones at home. We will all be getting shots.
I'll be getting the regular flu shot but not the H1N1. Our child's doctor is recommending we not give our kids the H1N1 because it's still untested. We'll give them the regular flu shot as in prior years.
Federal Agencies make Flu shots available each year, beginning late October.
This will be my third consecutive year to get a flu shot. Once I turned 50, I figured it was time to start...
I will be getting the regular seasonal shot. But the H1N1 shot has too little research behind it to make me feel safe about the shot itself. I am not in a high risk group either so that makes the decision a little easier.
I don't believe in getting flu shots or other medical remedies unless absolutely needed or if I was in one of the high risk categories.
It would be much harder to get one if they weren't given out for free at work. I don't care that they're free; it's the convenience of getting one at work that I like.
I still hear a lot of people say no shot for them as the shots MAKE people sick. That used to be true for me when live viruses were used, but of course that has changed with the use of "dead" viruses in making the shots. I keep telling people that, hoping more of them will utilize the opportunities to receive a shot, sometimes for free. A shot is much better than a round (or two) of the flu.
This flu hoopla is an attempt to scare the public into becoming guinea pigs. This flu is not new and it is not expected to cause any more casualties as any other flu that we've dealt with in the past. (This according to the many medical professionals in my family) Don't believe the hype!!!
There is something about turning 55 (and older) that makes flu shots much more important. I'm not saying I'm old, but....