Too few Americans get flu shots

Avatar for cmkarla
Registered: 01-03-2001
Too few Americans get flu shots
Tue, 12-13-2011 - 8:14am

Did you get yours?Why or why not?

According to recent Health Day News:

Flu vaccination is easy to get and one of the best ways to protect your health during the flu season, but too few Americans take advantage of it, experts say.

"People often shrug off concerns about the flu, yet every year it strikes up to 20 percent of Americans, sending more than 200,000 to the hospital and killing thousands," Dr. Thomas Slama, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and a clinical professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, said in an IDSA news release. READ MORE


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Wed, 12-14-2011 - 5:04pm
I did not as I am "sensitive" to eggs and flu vaccine is the ONLY inoculation still cultured in eggs... This is a strong allergic risk for me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2009
Fri, 12-16-2011 - 4:24pm
cmkarla wrote:

Did you get yours? Why or why not?

Yes, you bet I did! I get one every year.

My mother suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome back in the late '70s and therefore is not allowed to get flu shots. As she is now 91 years old and in fragile health, we do everything we can to avoid contracting illness that we could pass along to her. Getting a flu shot is an easy step to take.

My daughter always used to balk at it, but she now works with a high-risk population and is required by her employer to get a flu shot. I must say I'm happy not to have that argument with her anymore! :smileywink:

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2012
Sat, 01-07-2012 - 6:23pm

Did you know that the flu shot contains mercury and formaldehyde and many other poisons that settle in your joints. This shot includes a few viruses. Its not worth the risk.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-25-2000
Sat, 01-07-2012 - 6:52pm

I will just say that the amount of these ingredients in your flu shot is miniscule. And we are also exposed to them from many other things in our daily lives. The flu can be fatal! Any effects of these substances in the amounts in your flu shot are unlikely to even be felt. To me that is worth the risk. You must make your own decisions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2005
Mon, 01-16-2012 - 2:12pm
In all my adult life I've only had the flu maybe once; and even then I'm not sure it was really the "flu". So, no I do not get a shot for something I don't catch. It would be a waste of money for me. I don't like the idea of injecting foreign substances in my body anyway. Besides, follow the money trail. These shots are making a LOT of money for the pharmaceutical companies. And I have to wonder how many healthy adults really need these shots. Perhaps the old and the young might benefit from them, but I remain pretty skeptical about the benifits for most.


Avatar for cmkarla
Registered: 01-03-2001
Mon, 01-16-2012 - 2:22pm

It is so interesting how our experiences can shape our decisions in such different ways. I had Influenza A once and nearly died from it. I had the full experience with bi-lateral Pneumonia and the whole works. I was a very healthy young adult and was sick for months. Rounds and rounds of antibiotics,steroids, a hospital visit, many visits to the doctor and everything else cost me a fortune. To me, after that miserable experience, $25 for a shot is well worth it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2012
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 12:13am



You’re hot one minute and then you’re cold the next with shivers running through your body. You sneeze and cough to no end. The box of tissues at your bedside becomes your best friend. You might sleep all day and miss out on everything at school. This doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend your days, so do something about it! Don’t let the flu get the best of you.

The flu can be easily prevented with a flu vaccine! Each year between 5 and 20 percent of Americans will come down with the flu (DHHS 2012), and each year students like you miss school because of the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 38 million school days are missed each year due to the flu (2011). Flu vaccines are the simple answer to this problem. The seasonal flu vaccine is not 100% effective, but the CDC data on effectiveness of the vaccine says that 7 out of 10 people vaccinated normally do not get the flu (2012c).


Misconceptions about the Flu Vaccine


The flu vaccine is an instant fix if I have the flu.

False! The flu vaccine introduces antibodies for the flu and those antibodies take about 2 weeks to create immunity strong enough to fight off the flu (CDC 2012c).


I cannot get the flu if I get the vaccine.

False! There still are the risks that either, your body is already fighting the flu or that in the two weeks when you are trying to gain immunity, you come in contact with the flu (CDC 2012c).


The side effects of the vaccine outweigh the benefits of getting the flu vaccine.

False! The common side effects of getting the flu vaccine include a sore arm, redness around the injection site, and rarely someone might faint (solved by seating those particular patients in a chair) (CDC 2012b).


I’m young and healthy!  I don’t need the flu vaccine.

False!  You may be young and healthy, but that doesn’t mean that everyone around you is as well. Consider your grandparents, elderly neighbors, the new baby in your family, someone you know who has cancer or other chronic illnesses (CDC 2012c). Also, just because you are healthy now doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu. In addition to putting others at risk, getting the flu can prevent you from going to school, playing sports or participating in other extracurricular activities, attending the big dance, and/or have no fun for 3-14 days (CDC 2012a).


Once I get the flu vaccine, I don’t have to worry about washing my hands before I eat or anything like that.

False! The flu vaccine protects against three of the most common types of the flu. This means that there are other strands out there that you are still susceptible to (CDC 2012c). Always practice good hand hygiene (NIH 2012). Also, don’t forget, it takes two weeks for our bodies to really build up the resistance we need to prevent the flu.


I hear the flu vaccine is LIVE! That means I am going to get the flu because I had the vaccine.

False! There are two ways to receive a flu vaccine: the traditional shot and the new nasal spray (FluMist® or LAIV). The traditional shot does not contain the live virus, and it is used for healthy people and for people who have chronic conditions or who are pregnant. However, the nasal spray DOES contain a very small amount of weakened live virus, and it is only recommended for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 (CDC 2012a).


Questions about the Flu Vaccine


When should I get the flu vaccine?

You should get the flu vaccine every year in the fall when it comes out. The sooner, the better! The sooner you get the vaccine, the sooner you will have the antibodies necessary to protect yourself from the flu. When the flu vaccine is released is variable, but normally by September or October you should be vaccinated (CDC 2012c).


Why should I get the flu vaccine as a teenager?

There are three BIG reasons to get the flu vaccine as a teenager.

  1. You are helping to protect the people you come in contact with whom have weaker immune systems including grandparents, family or friends with chronic conditions, and any infants you may with whom you have contact (CDC 2012c).
  2. If you have a chronic illness like asthma, other chronic lung diseases, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, etc. you should be vaccinated against the flu (CDC 2012c)
  3. You are increasing the likelihood of being able to have fun and participate in activities instead of having to stay home with the flu.


Who should get the flu vaccine?

Most of the population should get the flu vaccine! This means anyone who is over 6 months old should be vaccinated (CDC 2012a). There are certain populations that especially should be vaccinated. These include people with diabetes, asthma, chronic lung disease, pregnant women (!), and people older than 65 years old, medical or care professionals, and anyone else who runs the risk of developing serious complications from the flu such as pneumonia (CDC 2012c).


Who should NOT get the flu vaccine?

There is a much shorter list of people who should not be vaccinated including those allergic to chicken eggs, those who have had a severe reaction in the past to the vaccine, children under 6 months old, those with moderate to severe illnesses that they are still recovering from and those with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (CDC 2012c).


After I get the vaccine, how can I still prevent the flu?

There are three main actions for preventing the flu besides getting vaccinated.

  1. Cover your mouth when you cough, but with your elbow, not your hand.
  2. Wash your hands often! Use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  3. If you already have the flu, STAY HOME! (Clay 2012)


How long does a flu vaccine protect for?

The flu vaccine will protect you against the flu for 6-8 months (NIH 2012). This means two things. First, it means that we don’t have to get the vaccine more than once per flu season and second, it means that we DO have to get a new one every year.


How does the flu spread?

The flu’s main mode of transportation is from person to person. This can happen when people shake hands after coughing, when someone coughs or sneezes without covering his/her mouth, or by touching a surface that has been contaminated by someone who has the flu (DHHS 2012).


What are the signs and symptoms of the flu?

The flu is a virus that can affect your nose, throat, and lungs. Common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, sweating, sneezing and coughing, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, feelings of tiredness, and sore throat (CDC 2012c).


Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012a, August 6). CDC Features. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from Your preteens and teens need vaccines too:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012b, June 11). Preteen and teen vaccines. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from Flu vaccine for preteens and teens:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012c, July 6). Seasonal Influenza. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, November 17). Adolescent School Health. Retrieved September 24, 2012, from Infectious Disease at School:

Clay County Public Health. (2012). Seasonal Flu. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from

Dept. of Health and Human Services. (2012, September). Retrieved September 20, 2012, from Seasonal Flu:

National Institute of Health. (2012, September 10). Injecting Truth into Flu Vaccine Misconceptions. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 2:25pm
I've never had the flu as an adult (or a child) and I work with a number of sensitive populations. I was vaccinated once years ago and had such severe side effects I won't ever do it again. Like you I'm not convinced this is something that most people need and find it awful convenient that it is the pharmaceutical companies swearing by it. Now for those with compromised immune systems it may make sense to get it, but for healthy persons there are plenty of ways to ward off the flu without a vaccine. If I spend large amounts of time surrounded by sick people and I'm not sick then I must already be doing something right.
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