Are You Going to get a Flu Shot?

by Prince Of Petworth September 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm 84 Comments

These flu shot signs are starting to pop up all over the city at CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway and pretty much everywhere that has a pharmacy so I’m just curious – how many people are going to get a flu shot and for those that get one will you use your doctor or just go to a pharmacy?

  • T

    Other: Yes, at work.

  • Yes, we get them free at work.

  • JH

    Out of curiosity, why wouldn’t you get a flu shot?

    • wax

      i don’t get the flu shot because i haven’t had the flu in almost 20 years. seems unnecessary to me.

      if i get the flu this year, i’ll get a flu shot next year.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed. Never had the flu in my life and haven’t even caught the common cold in almost four years.

        Weekly cleanses with scotch seems to keep me germ free.

    • SB

      Because I’m terrified of shots! Trying to work up the nerve this year, especially as they are free at work.

      • WDC

        Get the nasal version, FluMist. That’s what I do.

    • Anonymous

      Agree with the others, and also because when you get a flu shot, there is a small chance you get flu symptoms from it anyway. There is also a small chance that I get them without a flu shot. I figure I’ll err on the side of not getting viruses injected into my body.

      • Anonymous

        I always get flu symptoms, and they’re worse than any flu I’ve ever had.

        • MAR

          Me too! Without fail everytime I get the shot that makes me sicker than if I had just gotten the normal flu.

  • I’ve never gotten one, and don’t plan on starting now. I’m not some weird anti-science/anti-medicine person, but I’ve never seen the point. I’ve only gotten the flu a couple of times in my nearly 37 years, so if it ain’t broke…

    • Neighbor

      See longley’s comment above.

      • Anonymous

        Longley should provide evidence.

  • WDC

    I had the flu once. That was enough. I have never been so sick in my life– I sincerely believed I might die. So yes, I’ll get one, probably from a quickie place.

    I have to believe that anyone who says “I’ve had the flu and it’s no big deal” just had a bad cold. Influenza is brutal.

    • Emmaleigh504


      Luckily, I get the shot free at work.

    • Florista

      I had the flu once in my 20’s, when I was fit and healthy as could be. Knocked me on my ass for 10 days, then went to work a week and relapsed another week. Flu shots EVERY year for me. It’s pretty bad when a 20 year old can’t make it up the stairs in her house without stopping to rest.

      • Anonymous

        That happened to me AFTER getting the flu shot. And it happened during my birthday! I’d rather take my chances and not get the vaccine than get the vaccine and being sick for two weeks.

    • Bitter Elitist

      nothing like a fever with convulsions and hallucinations

    • Allison

      +1 – I used to not get the flu shot because of my phobia of needles and my opinion that they just plain didn’t work because the vaccination doesn’t cover all mutations.

      Then, I was hospitalized with the flu (and I’m a completely healthy 20 something with no autoimmune anything) and thought I would die. Swallowed my fears and gotten the flu shot ever since baby!

  • Dupont worker

    For the love of god get a flu shot. First off getting thr flu sucks and second, it’s a really good and easy way to help the community. Google ‘herd immunity’ but the gist of it is that the more people who get the shots, the better it is for society as a whole.

  • Hg

    I always end up getting one, but I a seem to get sick afterwards… Maybe a coincidence.

  • Razel

    I got the flu once. I thought I was dying.

    I got a flu shot once. I promptly got so sick I thought I was dying.

    I understand there’s supposedly no actual cause/effect relationship there, but I still haven’t gotten another flu shot since. Or the flu.

    • Anonymous

      Same here. Except I recovered faster from the flu than from the flu shot.

  • Anonymous
    • anonymous

      are you a doctor? this seems like horrible advice, especially considering vit D is a fat soluble vitamin so people will start od’ing and getting sick.

    • Me

      thanks for the quack bad advice.

    • Anonymouse

      I wouldn’t take advice from Lew Rockwell’s site on medical matters. Or anything else, really.

  • JMC

    Our office has free flu shots. This year I will be out of town when they do the shots, so I’m able to get a voucher for a free shot at an approved location. They all seem to be pharmacies/grocery stores. I don’t feel great about getting a vaccination at a dirty, unfriendly CVS or Rite-Aid. Anyone have a reco for a trusted place to go?

    • me

      I got mine last year at the Walgreens in Cleveland Park. Since it’s newer, it’s a bit cleaner, and I felt comfortable there.

    • Allison

      I got mine at the CVS at Columbia Heights– seemed just fine! The immunizing pharmacist was also very patient despite my need to have my husband with me and hyperventilating antics due to needle phobia.

  • Anon

    This thread will be full of fools talking about how the flu shot causes the flu and over medicating blah blah blah. Look, the truth is if you ever had the real flu you would get a flu shot. I dont want to have that again or give it to anyone else, end of story. The flu shot does NOT cause the flu. Just because you got sick after getting the shot doesnt prove anything. There is nothing in the shot to make you sick.

    • Anonymous

      This is true. The flu shot is SUPPOSED to stimulate an immune response, so hence you might get a fever, chills, etc.–but you are not sick.

      I get my flu shot every year because I have had the real flu, and like you said–once is enough. It’s horrid.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t understand your point. Having the flu is “horrid”, but having exactly the same reaction from a flu shot is fine? I don’t care if it’s the real flu or a stimulated immune response; being beridden for two weeks with fever, chills, aches, etc. is not pleasant. I guess it’s never happened to you.

  • Larchie

    I’ve never been in a car accident, so I disabled my car’s airbags. If I get into an accident, THEN I’ll activate them next year.

    Really? This is the line of thinking that people use?

    • andy(2)

      Love it Larchie!
      The flu is terrible and like the others wrote – if you have had you would get a flu shot so you never get it again.
      The real gift is to your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and fellow citizens. By getting a flu shot you are protecting the larger community and could perhaps save a life.
      If you can afford it or get it at work DO IT!

    • Anonymous

      you’re confusing passive and active prevention.
      so no, this is not the line of thinking people use.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah–a feature in your vehicle, injecting something into your body, that’s the same.

    • NegativeNancy

      I love you. Really, I do. You know me. I think we’re married.

  • DCster

    I never get the flu and so never put effort into getting a flu shot.
    I think the public messaging could be improved – comments here are the first I’ve read that you should get a shot to prevent passing the flu to others. Last I remember, messages were suggesting the old, young, those with compromised immune systems and those with children should get flu shots – for everyone else it was optional.
    But maybe I’ll get one if it’s really a benefit to the community.

    • WDC

      It really is. You’re contagious for 24 hours before you start to show symptoms, so you can pass it on without knowing. Good on you for thinking of others!

    • Anon

      You’re thinking of when there is a vax shortage. When supplies are plentiful, the medical community recommends everyone be immunized.

      • Anonymous

        that’s always in my mind.

      • textdoc

        From the CDC website:

        Who should get vaccinated?

        Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010 when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people. While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that certain people get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.

        Pregnant women
        Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
        People 50 years of age and older
        People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
        People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
        People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
        Health care workers
        Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
        Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

        • Anon

          Exactly. Everyone should get a flu vaccine.

    • Elza

      This is a really good point. I, too, never get flu shots because I just don’t get sick (maybe every 3-5 years, max). I think I have a crazy-strong immune system. However, I never realized either that I could still be a flu carrier without getting sick myself. That makes me feel more obligated to get the shot this year.

  • R

    I’m a public health professional and I was surprised at the comments on this page. I really thought it was going to be more critical of flu shots. I wish there was more of this on other websites. You will always have your nay-sayers, but the benefits out weigh the risks when we’re dealing with flu shots – especially for the elderly, the young, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing conditions.

    It’s true, if you’ve had the flu, you’ll know it. I’ve been hospitalized twice because of the flu. It’s not a joke. And if people depend on you, at home or work, take the preventive measure and protect yourself.

  • Pee-Worth

    Ack! Having the flu is the worst thing in the world. I had it once in Japan (I was teaching English there) and my whole body ached like a heavy bookcase had fallen on every single one of my muscles. I couldn’t get up for a couple days, couldn’t teach for a week or so, and didn’t feel right for another 6 months. Often, when people say they have the flu, they actually have a strong cold – which is no where near having the flu. Influenza is so debilitating that, in 1918, in the span of two years 100 million people died – mostly because people had no energy to take care of themselves, and carers were completely overwhelmed and unable to care for all sick patients. Anyhoooo, not to be alarmist, but the flu shot can prevent influenza, and it’s a good thing.

    Once you’ve had it once, you’ll make sure to get the shot every year thereafter :)

  • mv

    I get the actual flu (not some bad cold) every few years. Last year I got the flu shot for the first time ever, and guess what, I got some random other strain of the flu (doctor told me this, just not in so many words, it was not self-diagnosed), so what the hell is the point.

    • Anonymous

      what is your lifestyle that you get the flu so much. are you a school teacher?

      • mv

        worst immune system ever… i catch everything and anything that’s around me. plus I’m allergic to the world. i didn’t know it was weird until i got older haha

        • Anonymous

          ugh. i’m sorry.

    • mv

      this wasn’t supposed to sound so angry haha – i tend to have angry sounding first posts to fend off the people who are going to be all “well you probably don’t have the flu” or “were you wearing a short skirt? it was your fault!”

    • Anonymouse

      You shouldn’t assume it’s pointless just because it didn’t work for you that one time. The point is not guaranteed immunity, the point is reducing your chances of getting the flu.

  • cookietime420

    Michelle Bachman told me that she talked to a woman who told her that her daughter became mentally retarded after getting a flu shot.

  • Mr. Poon

    You people are so naive. Flu shots are loaded with mind-controlling additives to drive people into a frenzy of shopping. That’s why they’re given just before Christmas.

    Also, somewhat seriously, if you’re not pregnant, sickly, or elderly, statistically the flu shot won’t do you much good. The CDC guesses each year which strain of the virus will be most active. It prevents some flu in healthy adults, but not much. Generally, for whatever reason, people aren’t as skeptical of the efficacy of flu shots as they probably should be. It won’t hurt; get one if it makes you feel better, but the evidence supporting them is pretty thin. It’s also difficult to find a measure of the placebo effect from people who get them. Either way, they’re not that big of a deal.

    • WDC

      But it’s a really GOOD guess. As we speak, researchers are in Asia tracking and monitoring the probable 2014 strains. They will refine and narrow the analysis over the next couple of years to create the next vaccines, to include the strongest and most-likely-to-travel strains. I can’t explain it well, but it was very compelling when explained to me by a contract CDC analyst who spends several months every year in China.

      Yes, you might get a less common or more recently mutated strain. But to use the analogy above, you don’t stop paying attention to the road just because of the likelihood that some jackass is texting behind the wheel and might run into you.

    • Anon

      You’re mistaken.

      • Mr. Poon

        If you say I’m mistaken, Anonymous Internet Person, then it must be true.

    • Anonymouse

      Statistically the flu shot won’t do much good? I’d like to see your stats, please.

      • I’m not an immunologist, but

        The medical establishment believes that the public policy ought to be what it is: Government should encourage and subsidize flu shots in the general population, but especially in infants and the ederly. On the whole, this reduces deaths from influenza each year. The catch is that it mostly reduces deaths in just infants and the elderly. There’s debate whether it’s effective among the general population. Public policy to encourage the vaccine in everyone is aimed primarily at casting a wider net for at-risk people, and seconarily to immunize the healthy population.

        The FDA doesn’t judge the effectiveness of the vaccine, only the efficacy. It does so every year. If a manufacturer can show that patients’ immunity levels increase the requisite amount against the flu strains ordained by the CDC that given year, the vaccine wins approval. You can find all of this year’s data by googling “fluvirin package insert”.

        Gathering data on effectiveness is difficult. Researchers have to use hospital records, surveys, records of drug sales, etc. to come up with working models. They want to know if the vaccine, while creating antibodies, was actually effective in preventing the flu.

        The few clinical trials to judge effectiveness that have been attempted have been complicated affairs, often yielding unreliable data:


        It seems that the flu vaccine in this instance is at least effective 35% of the time in healthy 18-49 year olds, likely more.

        With complications occurring in one in 1000 flu shot recipients, the question becomes whether the vaccine is worth it for healthy people. Effective one in three times isn’t very good, considering influenza attacks very few people each year. In the year of the study, only about 10 in 1000 people were attacked with the pre-ordained strain, and of those we can only say that 3 or 4 were definitely helped by the vaccine. That means 996/1000 of those healthy people got the shot for no reason.

        So, bottom line: this is difficult stuff. The flu shot is effective, but dramatically more so in infants and the elderly. Healthy people who don’t get the shot are likely to never suffer infection on account of their exposure.

        • saf

          Interesting. How about the middle-aged and ill?

  • spookiness

    I could not really answer the survey because my answer is “none of the above”. I am getting mine probably next week at an urgent care franchise convenient to me. $25.

  • Anon

    I had a flu shot last year; my first shot in years and years. While I never got the flu, it seems like I very sickly with colds and other less serious afflictions all winter – way more than usual. I realize this might be coincidence, but part of me thinks the flu shot jacked with my immune system. I am really torn on whether to get then shot or not. Hmmmm.

  • textdoc

    Planning to get one at work.

    The one year that I _didn’t_ get a flu shot, I got the flu. It was awful, even worse than when I had mono. I missed two weeks of work. Often I didn’t even have enough energy to lie on the couch and watch DVDs.

    I had recently started a new job and hadn’t built up much sick leave. Fortunately my work advanced me sick leave, which meant that my balance went under zero (well under zero!), but I was allowed me to build it back up again. (It took a LONG time.) If they let me do that, I would’ve been in the position of losing two weeks of pay on top of the misery of being so sick.

    • textdoc

      I omitted a key word there… I meant “If they _hadn’t_ let me do that.”

    • Emmaleigh504

      Not having the energy to watch TV is awful. When I had the flu in college I only had the energy to stare at my blank white wall. I stared at it for days. Luckily, there was a defect in the crappy paint job that looked like Africa, so so that entertained me for a week. Then I got enough energy to call my parents to come get me and take me home and nurse me for another week.

      And as my mother always reminds me, it’s the relapse that will kill you!

      • Bitter Elitist

        Last time I had the flu, I kept seeing shapes/figures sliding across the walls.

  • WDC

    Another PSA: If you start feeling flu symptoms (crippling fatigue, feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus (literal physical pain all over), high fever, upper respiratory troubles) get thee to a doctor for a Tamiflu prescription. Taken early enough, it can drastically reduce the severity and duration of the bug. I’ve taken it twice with good results (and once with no result).

  • textdoc

    Q&A from the CDC on the flu vaccine:


  • Taking Submissions for a Clever Moniker

    I will get mine at work. I will get it because my grandparents are in poor health, I have young nieces and nephews, and three of my friends are pregnant. You should get one, too.

  • saf

    I have a chronic condition, so the flu is a bigger risk to me than it was when I was younger and healthy.

    I also appreciate those who get the shots to help protect the rest of us.

  • ebgb

    I’m surprised no one mentioned that the Rite Aid pictured above also has ads out offering shingles vaccines.

    Now, who’s getting their shingles shot?

    • textdoc

      Probably only people over 60, although it’s approved for people 50 and older.

    • textdoc
    • Steamin’

      I know shingles sounds silly, but it can be a real nasty experience. I had a case a few years ago; it small and well controlled, thankfully, but there’s something called ‘ghost pain’ that is associated with shingles – where you still feel pain in the location of the outbreak even though it’s gone away. I still have one spot which aches pretty regulary; it’s not bad, just noticeable, but I understand in some instances it can be as painful as an actual outbreak, and can continue, on and off, for years. This all started for me when I was in my thirties, so it’s not always an old person’s disease. Anyone who ever had chicken pox as a kid can develope shingles late in life.

  • Local PW

    I had the flu so bad one year I was out of work for two weeks couldn’t taste my Christmas dinner. After that I’ve gotten the shot every year. There’s also the “herd immunity” argument mentioned above. Don’t be a carrier and kill some old lady, get the shot.

  • Bitter Elitist

    Last time I had the flu was around 2002. It sucked. However, I’ve had 2 shots in my life and was sick for a week both times. They give them out at work, but I’d rather throw the dice.

    • Anonymous

      Me too. I think some of us just can’t tolerate flu shots.

  • Anonymouse

    I’m all in favor of getting the flu shot. I get one every year. BUT, if you already have a cold on shot day, skip it. The combination of cold and flu shot reaction will knock you on your ass. Wait until your cold is gone and *then* head to CVS.

  • I should clarify that I’ve never gotten one, and that I also don’t interact with other people much. It’s not uncommon for me to go a week or more without leaving my house (where I live, alone), especially in the winter. I don’t really come into contact with old people or kids (although on the latter, my exposure to them is increasing).

    I guess if I went back to work in an office or started taking public transportation or being around kids really regularly, I would see the point, but for now, it doesn’t seem like a priority.


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