Flu shots - required or optional?

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vial and syringeInfluenza vaccine is designed to fight the three main strains of disease that researchers believe will circulate in any given flu season, but that doesn't mean you are guaranteed to evade the illness if you get a flu shot.

It's the time of year when supermarkets, pharmacies and doctors offices are offering flu shots for patients of all ages, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends that you get your vaccine as early as possible, preferably as soon as they become available in your area.

Signs for flu-shot clinics sprouted up in my Midwest city before Halloween, and I do have a 3-year-old and an infant in the house. But we are not getting flu shots this year -- in fact, the only year my husband and I ever got vaccinated, we got the flu.

Throw in the fact that our crappy grad-student insurance doesn't cover the cost -- $120 for all four of us, thank you very much -- and that makes the decision to skip the shot pretty easy.

An informal poll of ParentDish staffers revealed that only one of us intends to be vaccinated, and that's because she has a very young infant in the house (babies and the elderly are the most at-risk populations). I have asthma, and while my doctor pushes me to get a shot, I find it makes my condition even worse.

Just yesterday I took my son for his first round of vaccinations, and I was happy to do so. Severe diseases like polio and diphtheria have been essentially wiped out in the United States, thanks to the medical community's diligence. But adding in a shot that isn't even guaranteed to protect him is gratuitous, especially because doctors now have access to antiviral drugs.

That said, if he does happen to get the flu, I won't hesitate to take him to the doctor. Most people who suffer from severe bouts of influenza ignore their symptoms or wait too long to be treated.

So how about you? Do you line up at the first sign of flu season, or do you skip it?
WIll you get a flu shot?
Yes, I would be stupid not to141 (34.7%)
No, they don't work210 (51.7%)
Maybe, it depends on what my doctor says55 (13.5%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.