Should Flu Shots Be Mandatory?

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Should Flu Shots Be Mandatory?

What do you think?

1) Should flu shots be mandatory for children?

2) What about adults?

I've read some vax debates where people have said that if you don't vax your kid, you are irresponsible and selfish because it disrupts the herd immunity. So,

3) Are you an irresponsible, selfish adult if you don't get a vax?

4) Are you an irresponsible, selfish parent if you don't get your kid a flu vax?

I have quite a few people on my FB newsfeed that are either very pro or very anti and I just feel "Meh" about the whole thing. I get one every year, but that's because I don't want to get the flu, not because I'm selflessly taking one for the team IYKWIM.

Anyways, what say ye?

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No, I don't think they should be mandatory for either adults or kids. I'm not going to comment on the irresponsibility/responsibility of other parents who chose not to vax. That's not for me to opine on. Some people who are anti-vax say the same thing about parents who are pro-vax - that they're being irresponsible by allowing their kids to be shot up with that poison, blah blah blah. I don't go there.

I get one every year. Same with DH and the kids. I don't want the flu either, and I really don't want my kids to get it, especially since DS's asthma is triggered by, in part, viral infections. 95% of me does it for me and my family, but the other 5% is glad that I'm not infecting some immuno-compromised or elderly person, or an itty bitty baby too young to get vaxed. Something like 8000 Canadians die every year from flu or complications of the flu. I'll pass on me or anyone in my family becoming a statistic, thanks very much. Ya, I realize that someone's gonna say I have a better chance of getting hit by a car, but there are certain things that are within my control and other things that aren't. KWIM?

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"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

I get one every year. Same with DH and the kids. I don't want the flu either, and I really don't want my kids to get it, especially since DS's asthma is triggered by, in part, viral infections. 95% of me does it for me and my family, but the other 5% is glad that I'm not infecting some immuno-compromised or elderly person, or an itty bitty baby too young to get vaxed. Something like 8000 Canadians die every year from flu or complications of the flu. I'll pass on me or anyone in my family becoming a statistic, thanks very much. Ya, I realize that someone's gonna say I have a better chance of getting hit by a car, but there are certain things that are within my control and other things that aren't. KWIM?

This is me completely, including that the main reason why I am so religious about getting our flu shots is because of DH and DS's asthma.

I will say that I get pretty up in arms about people not giving their kids some of the other vax's, but the flu shot is one that I am more laid back about, except when it comes to my own family. I'm glad if it helps prevent us passing the flu on to anyone else, but mostly I just do it to protect my DH and DS.

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No, they should not be mandatory for children or adults.

I agree with the concept of herd immunity and do think it applied to the whole vaccine debate, but not in regards to seasonly illnesses like the flu. Herd immunity is never really established being a) the flu season is so short b) each year new strains of the flu present themselves c) which strains will be prevalent is based on an (educated) guess and is many times wrong.

So, no I don't think anyone is being irresponsible for not getting a flu shot; however, I feel differently about people not getting vaccines for things like polio.

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Mandatory? No way. We never get it, not for us or for the kids. I don't think it even works.

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We get it (my work provides it) and we ensure our kids get both initial and booster.

I think it should be mandatory. Influenza is a killer, even now. You never know who you are going to pass the flu to before you actually feel sick and they will go home to their elderly parent who will then get it and die.

I think a big problem is that many people misunderstand that the flu has nothing to do with the stomach, it is a respiratory disease. In English we even say stomach flu when we mean norovirus or whatever.

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"kris_w" wrote:

No, they should not be mandatory for children or adults.

I agree with the concept of herd immunity and do think it applied to the whole vaccine debate, but not in regards to seasonly illnesses like the flu. Herd immunity is never really established being a) the flu season is so short b) each year new strains of the flu present themselves c) which strains will be prevalent is based on an (educated) guess and is many times wrong.

So, no I don't think anyone is being irresponsible for not getting a flu shot; however, I feel differently about people not getting vaccines for things like polio.

I agree with all of this.

I will add that my some of my worst illnesses have come as a result of the flu shot. Yes, I know they say that you can't get sick from the flu shot. But, the literature they give you to read also says to let your doctor know if you have a cold or other respiratory issue. Well, that's the story of my life, between allergies/asthma and teaching and having boys in daycare. There's almost never a time when I don't have some sort of respiratory nonsense going on. I got bronchitis that I couldn't beat for months one year after the flu shot (which I got when I had a sniffle). I don't get the flu and I'm not convinced the vax is helpful.

I do get a flu shot for my boys, though, which is kind of funny, I guess...

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I've never had a flu shot and I refuse to give one to my children. I'm not convinced that the vaccine is effective and I don't feel it is worth the risk to expose my kids to it. I've talked with their Pulmonologist about it and he agrees.

I don't really care what anyone else chooses to have injected into their child.....

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I love receiving and giving flu shots:D

A part of me says it should be mandatory (for people that have no contraindications to it) because a healthy person could be carrying the flu around and pass it on to an immunocompromised person who hasn't had the shot yet. Then another part of me says it shouldn't be mandatory because people should have a choice of what goes in them.

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No on all counts. It is a personal medical decision. And I am all for vaxing for the deadly and permanently debilitating illnesses.

We don't do flu shots. They aren't always effective against all the strains of flu that may come up in a year. And we are not regularly around anyone who is immune compromised or has other risk factors.

I also question whether they really help the immune system. DH got one last year cause his doctor offered. This year he didn't and he is extra sick! He has had every virus that has gone through the people we know, while I, who have never had that shot, has had a couple of them.

If there was a very good reason to get it (one of us had a risk factor, or there was a major epidemic of a serious flu) I would consider it. But even with H1N1 DH's (good) doctor wasn't advising it because the vax was too new and they weren't sure of 100% effectiveness.

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Why should it be mandatory considering there are new strains every year that are NOT covered by the current year flu shot? A person could get the new strain and still pass it on.

We never get flu shots, I have never given one to my daughter. I think there are other ways to prevent getting sick. I'm not convinced that flu shots actually work.

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Nope. Recommended? Fine. A good idea for someone who is elderly/immune-compromised or looking after someone in either category? Absolutely. But mandatory? No way.

They don't know which strain(s) of the flu will be predominant when they make each years' flu vaccine... it's guesswork. Scientific guesswork... but still guesswork. So all these people that say "I got the flu shot and still got the flu" are often right... because there are SO MANY strains out there, they probably ended up with one of the non-vax strains that year.

I don't get it. My kids don't get it. My doctor even agrees with me that it is not necessary (for us). Dh has gotten it in the past when he was doing security at the hospital because they required it. But I don't think he has the last few years and I don't know what his plans are for this year.

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"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

Why should it be mandatory considering there are new strains every year that are NOT covered by the current year flu shot? A person could get the new strain and still pass it on.

We never get flu shots, I have never given one to my daughter. I think there are other ways to prevent getting sick. I'm not convinced that flu shots actually work.

The thing about flu shots is that, for example, you get a flu shot in one particular year because it's formulated to protect against the 3 most prevalent strains of the flu according to that year's statistical research. Maybe you get exposed to one of those strains, maybe not. But the immunity you get from that particular shot will still protect you in future years should one of those strains you've already been vaccinated against show up. Just because there are prevalent strains each year doesn't mean that you won't be exposed to a strain that was prevalent the previous year or even several years ago. The immunity you receive each year compounds and provides you with protection against many strains through the years. Plus, the flu virus that's injected is dead. It can't cause the flu.

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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

And I am all for vaxing for the deadly and permanently debilitating illnesses.

That's the flu, then. It kills tens of thousands in the US alone every year.

http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/289/2/179.abstract

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I vaccinate my children because of this...

•Before 1985, Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) caused serious infections in 20,000 children each year, including meningitis (12,000 cases) and pneumonia (7,500 cases).1 In 2002, there were 34 cases of Hib disease.
•In the 1964-1965 epidemic, there were 12.5 million cases of rubella (German measles).2 Of the 20,000 infants born with congenital rubella syndrome, 11,600 were deaf, 3,580 were blind, and 1,800 were mentally retarded as a result of the infection.2 There were 9 cases of rubella in 2004 and only four cases of congenital rubella between 2001 and 2004.
•Before 1963, more than 3 million cases of measles and 500 deaths from measles were reported each year.2 More than 90% of children had measles by age 15.2 In 2002, there were 44 cases of measles
•In 1952, polio paralyzed more than 21,000 people.2 In 2002, there were no cases of polio in the United States.
•In the 1920s, there were 100,000 to 200,000 cases of diphtheria each year and 13,000 people died from the disease.2 In 2002, there was only one case of diphtheria in the United States.

I am not as strict on vaccinating for the flu shot because of this...

How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent influenza illness) can range widely from season to season and also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that influenza vaccine will protect a person from influenza illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or "match" between the influenza viruses in the vaccine and those spreading in the community. During years when the viruses in the vaccine and circulating viruses are not well matched, it’s possible that no benefit from vaccination may be observed. During years when the viruses in the vaccine and circulating viruses are very well matched, it’s possible to measure substantial benefits from vaccination in terms of preventing influenza illness. However, even during years when the vaccine match is very good, the benefits of vaccination will vary across the population, depending on characteristics of the person being vaccinated and even, potentially, which vaccine was used.

When the discrpency of the flu shot lowers and the effectivness increases and is not so variable year to year, then I will add it to my manditory vaccination list.

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"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

The thing about flu shots is that, for example, you get a flu shot in one particular year because it's formulated to protect against the 3 most prevalent strains of the flu according to that year's statistical research. Maybe you get exposed to one of those strains, maybe not. But the immunity you get from that particular shot will still protect you in future years should one of those strains you've already been vaccinated against show up. Just because there are prevalent strains each year doesn't mean that you won't be exposed to a strain that was prevalent the previous year or even several years ago. The immunity you receive each year compounds and provides you with protection against many strains through the years. Plus, the flu virus that's injected is dead. It can't cause the flu.

No the shot itself can't cause the flu but you can still get another strain. So really, it's just a game on which strain you get injected for and which strains are still lurking around.

Maybe when it becomes more reliable, then we will consider. Again, I think there are other ways to prevent getting sick and treating once you are sick. I will add, obviously if you are high risk categories like premature babies or older adult or if you have a weak immune system, then yes you should get the flu shot but I still don't think it should be mandatory.

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"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

No the shot itself can't cause the flu but you can still get another strain. So really, it's just a game on which strain you get injected for and which strains are still lurking around.

Maybe when it becomes more reliable, then we will consider. Again, I think there are other ways to prevent getting sick and treating once you are sick. I will add, obviously if you are high risk categories like premature babies or older adult or if you have a weak immune system, then yes you should get the flu shot but I still don't think it should be mandatory.

This is where I am, despite my super short "I'm not convinced it works" answer. I took the lazy way out so I didn't have to dig around for links or references. But in a nutshell, we are not high-risk here and I do not consider it reliable. I know a lot of people who get the shot and a lot who don't, and I have yet to see any correlation between getting the shot and not getting the flu. Some who get the shot get it, some who don't get it....it certainly is not reliable.

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"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

No the shot itself can't cause the flu but you can still get another strain. So really, it's just a game on which strain you get injected for and which strains are still lurking around.

Maybe when it becomes more reliable, then we will consider. Again, I think there are other ways to prevent getting sick and treating once you are sick. I will add, obviously if you are high risk categories like premature babies or older adult or if you have a weak immune system, then yes you should get the flu shot but I still don't think it should be mandatory.

I guess I don't understand the concept of not protecting yourself and your children from what you can. It's absolutely true that you could get another strain of the flu. But, it's pretty unlikely that you will get the strains that you have been vaccinated for, and they try to predict the strains each year that you are most likely to come into contact with, so at least you can be fairly sure that you won't get the strains you've been vaccinated for, and hope that you don't run into one of the other (less prevalent) strains.

I agree that there are things that you can do to try to prevent getting sick, including getting enough sleep and good nutrition to promote a healthy immune system and regular hand washing, but....I still think that the flu shot on top all of that is a good idea.

I don't really care that much what other people do because we do do the flu shot every year, and I've never actually had the flu, I just think it's an interesting attitude.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I guess I don't understand the concept of not protecting yourself and your children from what you can. It's absolutely true that you could get another strain of the flu. But, it's pretty unlikely that you will get the strains that you have been vaccinated for, and they try to predict the strains each year that you are most likely to come into contact with, so at least you can be fairly sure that you won't get the strains you've been vaccinated for, and hope that you don't run into one of the other (less prevalent) strains.

I agree that there are things that you can do to try to prevent getting sick, including getting enough sleep and good nutrition to promote a healthy immune system and regular hand washing, but....I still think that the flu shot on top all of that is a good idea.

I don't really care that much what other people do because we do do the flu shot every year, and I've never actually had the flu, I just think it's an interesting attitude.

Some of us feel that we are protecting our children by choosing not to give them the flu shot. Until it is proven to be more effective I won't even consider injecting my child with a virus, dead or not.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Some of us feel that we are protecting our children by choosing not to give them the flu shot. Until it is proven to be more effective I won't even consider injecting my child with a virus, dead or not.

That is how I feel too.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Some of us feel that we are protecting our children by choosing not to give them the flu shot. Until it is proven to be more effective I won't even consider injecting my child with a virus, dead or not.

Do you not vaccinate against other viruses?

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Do you not vaccinate against other viruses?

My girls have had all of the required vaccinations, sure. But the flu shot isn't required, nor do I consider it effective. Even the CDC claims that the effectiveness for the 10-11 flu season was only 60%. It also states that the vaccine is most effective in healthy young adults and older children (my kiddos are 6 and 4).

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1. & 2. No, they should not be mandatory... for anyone. That's a slippery slope that we shouldn't go down. There are certain vaccines that are optional (they haven't gone through all of the testing that others have gone through) for children that their pediatrician has offered, and I refuse them. I'm not about to inject my children with anything that hasn't had multiple studies and years of research done on them, proving their unequivical need... that it might possibly save their life.

3. & 4. No, I don't think it's selfish or irresponsible on either part. The vaccination mentioned here is just for the flu, not polio or something life threatening. My OB kept pushing me to get one (which I found rather odd and invasive) and it made me very uncomfortable. It's like she couldn't fathom why I didn't want to get one. I explained to her that I've never had the flu once in my 29 years of life, and that I just don't see the need and will not be getting one. After two months she finally put in my chart that I had refused it... like I was doing something horrible. Last time I checked this is America, and I have the right to get or refuse a stupid shot if I so choose, and I as a parent get to make that same decision for my children. Plus, I actually heard a story just last week on the flu vaccine, and that it actually only has a 15% chance at keeping you immune from the flu... so what's the point?? I have no problem if people think that they're helpful, and if people want to get them for themselves and their children. I'm not about to tell them that they shouldn't, and no one is about to tell me that I should.

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My pediatricians asked me about it for the kids, were surprised when I said no, listened to my reasons, and accepted them, and actually understood them even though they don't agree completely. It's not a big deal.

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No way! My kids have never had to go in for flu or colds, so getting a shot for them would be medicating for something they can fight off anyway. We are also not around anyone with compromised immune system.
Oh and a note for those that are don't get the live vax's for the kids, make sure to get the shot and not the mist Smile

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"Starryblue702" wrote:

The vaccination mentioned here is just for the flu, not polio or something life threatening.

The flu is life threatening! It still kills thousands.

The Great Flu Pandemic of 1918 was not even 100 years ago. That killed more people than World War 1, and in a single year killed more people than 4 years of the bubonic plague.

If a flu shot is only "60% effective" for a certain year, it doesn't mean it is ineffective. It just means that different strains are floating around. However, as noted above, your immunity lasts, so the flu shot you don't get now might be the one you need in 10 years. You can't really measure effectiveness over a single year, it's over a person's lifetime.

Let's say that your child gets the flu and you don't, despite being around them 24/7. This is because you have been exposed in the past, by being infected, a passive carrier, or having been innoculated. A small child has less chance to be exposed so is more likely to get the flu.

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"blather" wrote:

The flu is life threatening! It still kills thousands.

The Great Flu Pandemic of 1918 was not even 100 years ago. That killed more people than World War 1, and in a single year killed more people than 4 years of the bubonic plague.

If a flu shot is only "60% effective" for a certain year, it doesn't mean it is ineffective. It just means that different strains are floating around. However, as noted above, your immunity lasts, so the flu shot you don't get now might be the one you need in 10 years. You can't really measure effectiveness over a single year, it's over a person's lifetime.

Let's say that your child gets the flu and you don't, despite being around them 24/7. This is because you have been exposed in the past, by being infected, a passive carrier, or having been innoculated. A small child has less chance to be exposed so is more likely to get the flu.

Are you really comparing today's health industry to that of 1918? The advances in medicine since then are tremendous! Besides, 90% of the deaths linked to influenza are in individuals 65 years and older, not children.

And perhaps you consider 60% effective to be acceptable, but I don't. I don't put 100% of my faith into research studies for obvious reasons, but even the CDC admits that the vaccine does not work best in young children or those who are not considered "healthy."

I choose to take precautions against getting sick, especially during flu season, but allow my children to build natural immunity. If the vaccine has a 40% (approximately) chance of not preventing the flu I think we'll just take our chances.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Are you really comparing today's health industry to that of 1918?

Did I say that? No. So I guess the answer to your question is no.

One of the reasons that less people get the flu is because so many people do get innoculated against the flu. But there are other considerations, such as people traveling farther, coming into contact with more people on a daily basis, and some are the same, like uninsured people and people in poverty.

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

If the vaccine has a 40% (approximately) chance of not preventing the flu I think we'll just take our chances.

But it doesn't have a 40% chance of preventing the flu. In the year the CDC stated the 60%, it meant that 60% of cases involved the flu strains for that year. The other 40% could be from previous years' innoculations. Or you could get it. If a strain is virulent then people will be innoculated in the next batch.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Some of us feel that we are protecting our children by choosing not to give them the flu shot. Until it is proven to be more effective I won't even consider injecting my child with a virus, dead or not.

I agree.

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"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

The thing about flu shots is that, for example, you get a flu shot in one particular year because it's formulated to protect against the 3 most prevalent strains of the flu according to that year's statistical research. Maybe you get exposed to one of those strains, maybe not. But the immunity you get from that particular shot will still protect you in future years should one of those strains you've already been vaccinated against show up. Just because there are prevalent strains each year doesn't mean that you won't be exposed to a strain that was prevalent the previous year or even several years ago. The immunity you receive each year compounds and provides you with protection against many strains through the years. Plus, the flu virus that's injected is dead. It can't cause the flu.

This years flu shot is the exact same one that was given last year. This has only happened 4 times. The news article I read said that you still had to get it this year because it was only good for 9-12 months. So I don't know if the bolded is really true.

With that said, I don't think it should be mandatory. Do we really need more government control is our lives? I have only ever gotten the flu shot twice in my life, and the girls have never gotten in. While I have had some REALLY bad illnesses, and I have had the "stomach flu", I don't know if I have ever really had the TRUE flu. I think a lot of people call a bad cold the flu, when it's not. So no, we don't get the flu shot.

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"blather" wrote:

Did I say that? No. So I guess the answer to your question is no.

One of the reasons that less people get the flu is because so many people do get innoculated against the flu. But there are other considerations, such as people traveling farther, coming into contact with more people on a daily basis, and some are the same, like uninsured people and people in poverty.

But it doesn't have a 40% chance of preventing the flu. In the year the CDC stated the 60%, it meant that 60% of cases involved the flu strains for that year. The other 40% could be from previous years' innoculations. Or you could get it. If a strain is virulent then people will be innoculated in the next batch.

You brought up 1918 so I assumed you had some sort of point. No?

Maybe I'm the odd one out on this, but I don't consider it some sort of civic duty I have to give my children a vaccination that I don't consider to be effective. If others want to, fine. I'm glad they have that option. I'm also glad my girls have a wonderful doctor that supports my decision not to vaccinate against the flu, and realizes that the risks don't always outweigh the possible benefits.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

You brought up 1918 so I assumed you had some sort of point. No?

Maybe I'm the odd one out on this, but I don't consider it some sort of civic duty I have to give my children a vaccination that I don't consider to be effective. If others want to, fine. I'm glad they have that option. I'm also glad my girls have a wonderful doctor that supports my decision not to vaccinate against the flu, and realizes that the risks don't always outweigh the possible benefits.

My point was that the flu kills.

Of course it is your civic duty to not pass on something that kills unless you have a contraindication to innoculations. It is everyone's civic duty. The downside of not having innoculations that work is that people forget how terrifying and dangerous some diseases are. Then they don't put in the effort to have innoculations, and that makes them more at risk (fair enough, that's karma I guess) but also hurts those around them.

It was just last year that a number of babies died of pertussis in California due to other people not getting vaccinated.

Complacency is dangerous.

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"fudd8963" wrote:

With that said, I don't think it should be mandatory. Do we really need more government control is our lives?

Sure! People have to stop at red lights. They might kill themselves by not stopping, which is their choice, but they could also kill someone who does choose to follow the law. It's an issue of public safety, and it has been demonstrated right on this board that people have no idea about the flu, so why should this be voluntary when there are other issues of public safety which the government regulates and no one has problems with it?

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"blather" wrote:

My point was that the flu kills.

Of course it is your civic duty to not pass on something that kills unless you have a contraindication to innoculations. It is everyone's civic duty. The downside of not having innoculations that work is that people forget how terrifying and dangerous some diseases are. Then they don't put in the effort to have innoculations, and that makes them more at risk (fair enough, that's karma I guess) but also hurts those around them.

It was just last year that a number of babies died of pertussis in California due to other people not getting vaccinated.

Complacency is dangerous.

This debate isn't about vaccinating against pertussis (which I did). This debate is about vaccinating against the flu. I don't consider the flu to be "terrifying" and "dangerous", therefore I don't consider it my civic duty to inject my children with something I don't consider to be effective and worth the risks.

And to say we "haven't put in the effort".....that's just an odd statement. I have put in the effort to do my own research, discuss my findings and concerns with our physician, and then make an educated decision with the support of a medical professional. You and I just made different decisions and I'm thankful we had the freedom to do so.

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I dont believe that any vaccines should be mandatory, so the answer to me on this is obvious. But the flu vaccine is one that I really think should not be mandatory. Until they come up with a more accurate way to decide which strains to protect against then making it mandatory could prove to be dangerous. If people think they are inoculated against something they may not take as many precautions to guard against it.

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"blather" wrote:

My point was that the flu kills.

Of course it is your civic duty to not pass on something that kills unless you have a contraindication to innoculations. It is everyone's civic duty. The downside of not having innoculations that work is that people forget how terrifying and dangerous some diseases are. Then they don't put in the effort to have innoculations, and that makes them more at risk (fair enough, that's karma I guess) but also hurts those around them.

It was just last year that a number of babies died of pertussis in California due to other people not getting vaccinated.

Complacency is dangerous.

I don't think it is complacency. I think it is a lack of faith in the ability of the product to work that outweighs the possibility that it perhaps might work to protect a group of people that I do not come in contact with, above and beyond other precautions that also work like washing hands, not being around the elderly and babies when one feels sick, etc. Last year when I took my Girl Scouts to volunteer once a month at the Nursing home, my kids and I got vaccinated. The risk of passing it on to someone in a high risk catagory made it a necessity in my mind. This year we didn't get it because the need is not the same. Just like we don't vaccinate our kids from yellow fever in the US because their is no need to unless one is going to come in contact somehow with South America or Africa. just because I know people from Ecuador doesn't mean it makes it a risk big enough to necesitate getting another vaccine. KWIM? That doesn't mean I am complacent or ignorant or have something against vaccines. However, the minute my trusted doctor tells me that the flu vaccine is as necessary as the other vaccines, I will definitely add it to my arsenal.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

My girls have had all of the required vaccinations, sure. But the flu shot isn't required, nor do I consider it effective. Even the CDC claims that the effectiveness for the 10-11 flu season was only 60%. It also states that the vaccine is most effective in healthy young adults and older children (my kiddos are 6 and 4).

I guess I'm still not following your logic. The flu shot is only 60% effective (more in some years, probably less in others) because there are so many strains of flu out there, so ultimately the strain you come into contact with may not be the one you were vaccinated against. If there were a gazillion strains of polio or pertussis out there, it would be the same situation. But I still don't understand how a 60% immunity is not better than 0% immunity. That's what doesn't make any sense to me.

I assume that when you talk about the "risks" of the flu shot, you are talking about the potential for your children to get the flu from the flu shot? (If not, please elaborate.) But that also doesn't make sense to me because I assume that you have your kids inoculated against things like TB, pertussis, polio, et cetera, and all of those vaccines work the same way. If I was truly scared that a vaccine could give my child the illness that they were trying to prevent, I'd be more scared about them getting polio or TB from the vax than the flu, so I wouldn't let them have those either.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I guess I'm still not following your logic. The flu shot is only 60% effective (more in some years, probably less in others) because there are so many strains of flu out there, so ultimately the strain you come into contact with may not be the one you were vaccinated against. If there were a gazillion strains of polio or pertussis out there, it would be the same situation. But I still don't understand how a 60% immunity is not better than 0% immunity. That's what doesn't make any sense to me.

I assume that when you talk about the "risks" of the flu shot, you are talking about the potential for your children to get the flu from the flu shot? (If not, please elaborate.) But that also doesn't make sense to me because I assume that you have your kids inoculated against things like TB, pertussis, polio, et cetera, and all of those vaccines work the same way. If I was truly scared that a vaccine could give my child the illness that they were trying to prevent, I'd be more scared about them getting polio or TB from the vax than the flu, so I wouldn't let them have those either.

The CDC states that the vaccine is most effective in healthy young adults and older children. It's efficacy varies throughout the population based on multiple factors (age, health, genetic variables, etc.). There is very little guarantee that my children will build immunity and avoid the flu by receiving the vaccine. Because it isn't mandatory, it isn't a risk I'm willing to take. I'm not one to buck the system, but I'm glad I have a choice here.

By risks I mean side effects. The influenza vaccine can cause fever, hoarseness, and cough. Because my children have respiratory issues I'm not willing to inject them with something I'm not convinced will prevent an illness, and in turn give them nasty side effects which exacerbates their respiratory problems. My oldest daughter, especially, has become ill with every vaccine she's had. I'm not saying that the flu vaccine will cause the flu, I'm saying the side effects (or chance of them) just aren't worth the risks to me. The flu is the flu....my child is unlikely to die or become permanently disabled from that. Polio is an entirely different virus, not even comparable in my eyes.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

The CDC states that the vaccine is most effective in healthy young adults and older children. It's efficacy varies throughout the population based on multiple factors (age, health, genetic variables, etc.). There is very little guarantee that my children will build immunity and avoid the flu by receiving the vaccine. Because it isn't mandatory, it isn't a risk I'm willing to take. I'm not one to buck the system, but I'm glad I have a choice here.

By risks I mean side effects. The influenza vaccine can cause fever, hoarseness, and cough. Because my children have respiratory issues I'm not willing to inject them with something I'm not convinced will prevent an illness, and in turn give them nasty side effects which exacerbates their respiratory problems. My oldest daughter, especially, has become ill with every vaccine she's had. I'm not saying that the flu vaccine will cause the flu, I'm saying the side effects (or chance of them) just aren't worth the risks to me. The flu is the flu....my child is unlikely to die or become permanently disabled from that. Polio is an entirely different virus, not even comparable in my eyes.

Agreed. With everything you've said. It's not a vaccine I'm willing to invest in at this point, especially considered the lack of effectiveness in current strains of the flu. Just because you are "protected" from strains that happened several years ago is no gurantee that you won't contract another strain this year.

It's a risk I'm willing to take. When I'm sick, I stay home. When my child is sick, she stays home. We're not out spreading it to everyone else. If you (in general) want to get the flu shot, get it. Don't force others to.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

The CDC states that the vaccine is most effective in healthy young adults and older children. It's efficacy varies throughout the population based on multiple factors (age, health, genetic variables, etc.). There is very little guarantee that my children will build immunity and avoid the flu by receiving the vaccine. Because it isn't mandatory, it isn't a risk I'm willing to take. I'm not one to buck the system, but I'm glad I have a choice here.

By risks I mean side effects. The influenza vaccine can cause fever, hoarseness, and cough. Because my children have respiratory issues I'm not willing to inject them with something I'm not convinced will prevent an illness, and in turn give them nasty side effects which exacerbates their respiratory problems. My oldest daughter, especially, has become ill with every vaccine she's had. I'm not saying that the flu vaccine will cause the flu, I'm saying the side effects (or chance of them) just aren't worth the risks to me. The flu is the flu....my child is unlikely to die or become permanently disabled from that. Polio is an entirely different virus, not even comparable in my eyes.

I mean absolutely no disrespect (because again, at the end of the day, I don't really care if you give your kids the flu shot, and I totally get what you're saying and don't entirely disagree.) But my son also has respiratory issues, and that is why I am so diligent about making sure that he gets the flu shot and that I do too. DH would anyway because he's a teacher and his school district requires him too. My son actually caught the flu (he tested positive for the actual flu virus) and it turned into pneumonia and he was hospitalized for 3 days, and then hospitalized for another 3 days when the pneumonia "came back" (the doctor's theorize that it wasn't quite dead in his system when the antibiotics ran out, and so rebounded a couple of weeks later.) The second time he was hospitalized, there was serious talk about needing to put him on a respirator, and he had a nurse that was assigned to just watch him 24/7 (she had no other patients, and she literally just sat in a little adjoining room with a window and readouts from all of the machines that he was hooked up to) until he was out of danger. When they sent him home, he was still on oxygen and I had to monitor him throughout the night and during naps to make sure that the oxygen tubes were still in place and he was still getting the right amount of oxygen. Because of that experience, I own a pulse ox monitor.

Granted, he did get the flu shot that year and he still got the flu, so I realize that isn't a ringing endorsement. Also granted, he was only about 20 months old at the time. Your children are older and hopefully would be less prone to complications than he was. But to me, having seen how absolutely devastating the flu can be for a small child with asthma, I think that the risk of a fever or a sore throat are infinitely preferable if it means that I can possibly give him some measure of protection.

I just wanted to throw that out there. The flu is really really bad for kids with respiratory issues.

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"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

It's a risk I'm willing to take. When I'm sick, I stay home. When my child is sick, she stays home. We're not out spreading it to everyone else. If you (in general) want to get the flu shot, get it. Don't force others to.

You can spread a virus without having any symptoms yourself.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I mean absolutely no disrespect (because again, at the end of the day, I don't really care if you give your kids the flu shot, and I totally get what you're saying and don't entirely disagree.) But my son also has respiratory issues, and that is why I am so diligent about making sure that he gets the flu shot and that I do too. DH would anyway because he's a teacher and his school district requires him too. My son actually caught the flu (he tested positive for the actual flu virus) and it turned into pneumonia and he was hospitalized for 3 days, and then hospitalized for another 3 days when the pneumonia "came back" (the doctor's theorize that it wasn't quite dead in his system when the antibiotics ran out, and so rebounded a couple of weeks later.) The second time he was hospitalized, there was serious talk about needing to put him on a respirator, and he had a nurse that was assigned to just watch him 24/7 (she had no other patients, and she literally just sat in a little adjoining room with a window and readouts from all of the machines that he was hooked up to) until he was out of danger. When they sent him home, he was still on oxygen and I had to monitor him throughout the night and during naps to make sure that the oxygen tubes were still in place and he was still getting the right amount of oxygen. Because of that experience, I own a pulse ox monitor.

Granted, he did get the flu shot that year and he still got the flu, so I realize that isn't a ringing endorsement. Also granted, he was only about 20 months old at the time. Your children are older and hopefully would be less prone to complications than he was. But to me, having seen how absolutely devastating the flu can be for a small child with asthma, I think that the risk of a fever or a sore throat are infinitely preferable if it means that I can possibly give him some measure of protection.

I just wanted to throw that out there. The flu is really really bad for kids with respiratory issues.

Of course the flu is "bad for kids with respiratory issues." I'm not denying that. A fever and/or cough is also "bad for kids with respiratory issues." You said yourself that your son had a flu shot, still contracted the flu, and ended up in the hospital. That just proves my point that the vaccine does not work as well for young children, especially those that are not considered "healthy." If you feel protected offering him the vaccine, I'm glad you have that option. There are those of us that don't feel that same sense of protection and have research and our physician's support to back us up.

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"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

You can spread a virus without having any symptoms yourself.

That's fine, I'm OK with the risk. The flu shot is not a gurantee, I refuse to give myself or my child something that most likely will not work. Especially when it is based off of past year strains and not what everyone is contracting this year.

If everyone else wants to get the flu shot, go for it. My entire point is, it should not be mandatory.

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I want to add the one years flu shots does not do anything to prevent the flu in later years, even if the strains are exactly the same. The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is very dangerous for immunocompromised babies and those kids need to be vaccinated every year. Immunity does not carry over to the next year.

Natural immunity, via actually catching and fighting off a disease, lasts but vaccines don't. That is why we need booster shots.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

But I still don't understand how a 60% immunity is not better than 0% immunity. That's what doesn't make any sense to me.

Me either. Very confusing.

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"kris_w" wrote:

I want to add the one years flu shots does not do anything to prevent the flu in later years, even if the strains are exactly the same. The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is very dangerous for immunocompromised babies and those kids need to be vaccinated every year. Immunity does not carry over to the next year.

DD was a preemie, and back then (10 years ago... so things easily could've changed) we had to get the RSV vax her first winter and she had to get it EVERY MONTH during RSV season... the ped explained it that with that one, they were actually giving the antibodies vs the body making their own off the vax/etc.

Never really thought about it then but now I do find it interesting that depsite her having to get the RSV vax that year, never once did any of our doctors ever suggest or recommend that dh or I get the flu vaccine.

Natural immunity, via actually catching and fighting off a disease, lasts but vaccines don't. That is why we need booster shots.

Yes. That is why, while I totally do all the mandatory vaccines (which are for illnesses we are seldom routinely exposed to here in North America), I choose to decline the not mandatory ones (flu/chicken pox). I prefer the natural/lifetime immunity to requiring boosters every so many years (though if my ds doesn't get CP within the next few years I will have to get him vax'd for it).

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"kris_w" wrote:

I want to add the one years flu shots does not do anything to prevent the flu in later years, even if the strains are exactly the same. The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is very dangerous for immunocompromised babies and those kids need to be vaccinated every year. Immunity does not carry over to the next year.

Natural immunity, via actually catching and fighting off a disease, lasts but vaccines don't. That is why we need booster shots.

Here's a numpty question, but does the flu vaccine actually prevent you from being an internal carrier in spreading the flu or does it simply reduce the symptoms for the individual if they contract an actual strain that was included in the vaccination? The vaccination would still not prevent the external spreading of the virus via hands, etc.

I'm one who chooses not to get it. I used to have my older kids get them as two of them had asthma. They've since almost completely outgrown it, thankfully. My younger kids have not gotten them, even though they were 5 weeks early. By the time they turned 6 months old, the flu season was almost over, there wasn't an outbreak in our community and their ped didn't think it was necessary for them. I'm not convinced it's helpful in our circumstance and we've never contracted the actual flu.

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What do you think?

1) Should flu shots be mandatory for children? NO

2) What about adults? NO

I've read some vax debates where people have said that if you don't vax your kid, you are irresponsible and selfish because it disrupts the herd immunity. So,

3) Are you an irresponsible, selfish adult if you don't get a vax? When we are talking about incurable virus (and yes, I know the flu is a virus too), then I think it is irresponsible, but not when it comes to the flu

4) Are you an irresponsible, selfish parent if you don't get your kid a flu vax? I'm uncomfortable giving my son the flu vaccine. I feel differently about it than his normal vaccinations

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"Beertje" wrote:

Here's a numpty question, but does the flu vaccine actually prevent you from being an internal carrier in spreading the flu or does it simply reduce the symptoms for the individual if they contract an actual strain that was included in the vaccination? The vaccination would still not prevent the external spreading of the virus via hands, etc.

I'm one who chooses not to get it. I used to have my older kids get them as two of them had asthma. They've since almost completely outgrown it, thankfully. My younger kids have not gotten them, even though they were 5 weeks early. By the time they turned 6 months old, the flu season was almost over, there wasn't an outbreak in our community and their ped didn't think it was necessary for them. I'm not convinced it's helpful in our circumstance and we've never contracted the actual flu.

The vaccine should prevent you from getting those specific strains of the flu and therefore prevent you from creating and spreading around more germs (through your coughs, sneezes, etc). It does not prevent you from passing along germs may may come into contact with via touching surfaces (door knobs, phones, keyboards, etc)

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"kris_w" wrote:

The vaccine should prevent you from getting those specific strains of the flu and therefore prevent you from creating and spreading around more germs (through your coughs, sneezes, etc). It does not prevent you from passing along germs may may come into contact with via touching surfaces (door knobs, phones, keyboards, etc)

See, this I find confusing. If one is a carrier of a virus, it spreads regardless even if the person had no symptoms of the virus. Is the vaccination preventing them from being a carrier to the virus? If that is the case, why would their bodies not gain immunity from these strains beyond the yearly vaccination if they were actually exposed to the specific flu virus the vaccination was intended for? Wouldn't the vaccination fight off these cells only quicker than one who did not have the vaccination?

How is this vaccination different than the chicken pox vaccination? I know that my older kids had the chicken pox vaccination but got them anyway, just at a lesser degree with much faster recuperation. I was told that after they got them at a lesser degree that they should be immune from the chicken pox. To date, this has held to be true.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Of course the flu is "bad for kids with respiratory issues." I'm not denying that. A fever and/or cough is also "bad for kids with respiratory issues." You said yourself that your son had a flu shot, still contracted the flu, and ended up in the hospital. That just proves my point that the vaccine does not work as well for young children, especially those that are not considered "healthy." If you feel protected offering him the vaccine, I'm glad you have that option. There are those of us that don't feel that same sense of protection and have research and our physician's support to back us up.

I don't think it really proves your point that the flu shot doesn't work as well for young children - I think it proves the point that everyone has already acknowledged, which is that unfortunately the strain of flu that you ultimately encounter may not be the strain of flu that you have been vaccinated for. But the strain you encounter DEFINITELY won't be the strain you were vax'ed for if you haven't been vax'ed.

Anyway, it's fine. I think if I had your experience of having a child that has a bad reaction to vaccinations, I might feel differently about it. And possibly if you had my experience with having a child hospitalized for the flu, you might feel differently about the flu vaccine. In the end, it's all about which risks seem more acceptable to each parent, since they both seem to carry risks.

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