If You Don’t Get a Flu Shot, You’re a Jerk

A couple of days ago, I stopped in the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. New signs hung on the counter and walls, advertising the times you could come in and get your annual flu shot. I felt a little guilty because I haven’t gotten a flu shot for a few years. Why? Just lazy. At my last job, they brought the flu shots to the office and you simply had to walk down the hall. Now, I have to make an appointment at the pharmacy or the doctor’s office and so I just haven’t gotten one. This makes me a bit of a jerk, and if you don’t get one either, it makes you a bit of a jerk. Here’s why.

The flu is a serious illness.

We like to joke about the flu. Television shows depict people moaning on the bed and demanding all sorts of things from oppressed spouses or parents. But it’s not a laughing matter. The CDC estimates that 200,000 people per year are hospitalized for the flu in the United States each year, with up to 49,000 people dying. That’s no joke.

To keep reading, click here: If You Don’t Get a Flu Shot, You’re a Jerk

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45 thoughts on “If You Don’t Get a Flu Shot, You’re a Jerk

  1. No, no, no and HELL NO. Flu shot’s aren’t for everyone no matter what we’ve been brainwashed to believe. The past few years, while people that received a flu shot are home sick it has left only a few to pick up the slack. And NONE of us have had flu shots for years. I used to be a firm believer in getting one….until I started paying attention. Doesn’t make me a jerk. It’s just a case of educating myself about what keeps my body healthy during flu season.

    1. Agreed. If you work with children, the elderly or immunocompromised people, then yes, you should (and are probably legally obligated) to get a flu shot. Otherwise, getting the shot slightly improves your chances of remaining healthy, provided you have no other health issues, which can weaken your immune system, the flu you are vaccinated against does not mutate and you are only exposed to that particular strain of flu.

      1. How do you know you are NOT working with the immunocompromised? Do you know the health condition of everyone you work with? I have family members who cannot get the flu shot due to medical issues and they depend on herd immunity to get through flu season hopefully unscathed, but they don’t exactly wear a sign. What about people in public such as schools, retail workers, food service workers, etc? If you are a healthy-enough person, you should get the shot.

    2. Totally agree. It is ridiculous to claim that those who don’t get the shot are jerks. Whatever next!
      “Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year …” Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.)

      In 1981, R. Edgar Hope-Simpson proposed that a ‘seasonal stimulus’ intimately associated with solar radiation explained the remarkable seasonality of epidemic influenza. Solar radiation triggers robust seasonal vitamin D production in the skin; vitamin D deficiency is common in the winter, and activated vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D, a steroid hormone, has profound effects on human immunity.
      Many distinctive features of the biology, physiology, and epidemiology of vitamin D point to it as a likely candidate for Hope-Simpson’s ‘seasonal stimulus’.

      Vitamin D has profound and multiple effects on human immunity [22, 23].
      Inadequate vitamin D nutrition is endemic among the elderly in the winter [24–26].
      Serum levels of 25(OH)D are low in many people of all ages who live at temperate latitudes, especially in the winter [20].
      Humans acquire most of their vitamin D from casual sun exposure, and to a degree that is a function of skin surface area exposed [27, 28].
      The elderly only make about 25% of the vitamin D as 20-year-olds do after exposure to the same amount of sunlight [29].
      Seasonal variations – and vitamin D deficiency – occur in both subtropical and tropical latitudes [30, 31].
      Routine daily supplementation with 400 IU of vitamin D does not prevent wintertime insufficiency [32].”

    3. Totally agree. Never have had the flu shot and have not had the flu in over 20 years. I work in a school too – surrounded by children. I am NEVER out sick and have to frequently pick up the slack for all those getting the shot and getting sick…and then getting sick later in the season.

  2. Lori, I agree. I used to work at a company that gave us free flu shots.

    Every year that I got one I got sick (yea, yea, I know IT isn’t the flu that I had that weekend; but, it sure felt like it!). It seems like maybe there was a reason they always gave us the shot on a Friday?

    I decided that I didn’t want to spend another weekend sick; So, I stopped getting the flu shot. Haven’t had the flu in the 15 years since I stopped getting it.

    And, of course, they are claiming that this year’s shot will be most effective NOW. But, wait until after flu season and see them change their tune.

    1. Exactly Charles. I’ve educated myself on many things that affect me. I’m not passing around the flu virus if I’m not carrying it.

  3. I couldn’t believe the difference when I went from a non-flu shot company to a company that provided the shots.
    I used to come to work in December and January and take a tally of who was in the office. Shipping is completely out with the flu, Accounting is down by 50%, Purchasing only has 3 people in today…that was just the way things went in the winter. Production slowed and some projects came to a complete halt.
    Now I don’t even notice it is flu season. There may be one or two people out in the whole organization. I only think about it when I get a call from an outside organization and they lament how many people are out on their end.

  4. People who refuse to get flu shots when they totally can (i.e. not medically unable) are probably the same non-belted drivers I see texting every day. “Won’t happen to me. I have total control. I know what to do. I won’t get sick. I won’t die. I WON’T KILL SOMEONE ELSE.”

    Yeah, you’re a jerk.

    1. Or…they don’t get the flu shot and still manage to not get sick. Doesn’t make them jerks.

      1. Exactly, RagingNatural! There are other options to maintain your health. Elizabeth West, I don’t claim to have “control” over everything that happens to me. That’s HOW I learned to TAKE control of my health.

  5. I’m debating getting the flu shot, but really, people need to WASH THEIR HANDS! I try to keep my hands washed, my keyboard, phone and desk wiped down, even though I’m the only one using them.

    As soon as I get home from work, I wash my hands and face.

    (I also say a little prayer when someone is sneezing and coughing all up public like they aren’t spreading germs, can’t hurt…)

  6. Since Obamacare, if you have medical insurance, there is zero co-pay for preventive care like flu shots. So, yes, you are a major-league jerk if you don’t get one. I say that even though I work for an agency that provides flu (and pneumonia) shots, and I got sick the weekend after getting both. Even if you get sick after getting the shot, it is still much less severe than getting the full-blown flu (or pneumonia).

  7. Every time I got a flu vaccination, I got the flu. And I don’t mean a mild case for a weekend, either, but the full-blown, down-for-a-couple-of-weeks FLU. I have asthma, so my (former) doctor always pushed the flu vaccine on me so he could say he had 100% compliance among his high-risk patients. After the last time, I changed doctors. My new doctor agrees with me that I should NOT receive the vaccine and that there are people who DO get very ill from it. (my father also does) I also faint about five minutes after getting the injection, although I do not faint for the pneumonia or tetanus shots. All year long, not just in flu season, I eat right, try to get plenty of sleep, practice good hygiene (hand washing, etc.), and I have not had anything more than a mild cold since. Call me childish names (Jerk?) if you want, but HELL NO, I will NOT get the flu vaccine!

    1. You too? Every time I get a flu shot, I’m sick in about an hour. My doctor thought it was an allergic reaction, so switched the format. Yeah, still incredibly sick from it. Though I fully support vaccinations, and others I have no problems from, but for the flu I rely on people around me getting the flu shot so I don’t end up with the flu.

  8. I get the flu shot every year. Not so much for myself, but because I have people in my life for whom the flu could be life-threatening. A close friend with asthma. My mother, who is diabetic and has a heart condition. My dad, who is 82. My young nephews. The list goes on.

    It’s one thing if you have a bad reaction to the vaccine, which some people do. For me, the worst I get is some soreness in the arm the next day. So I get the shot.

  9. I’ve never gotten the flu after about 50 years on this earth. The risk/reward of the shot leans in favor of me not getting it. Plus, it’s a crap-shoot on whether it will be effective. It’s usually in the 20% or so range each year. Right from the CDC on the potential effectiveness is based on:

    1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or “match” between the flu viruses the flu vaccine is designed to protect against and the flu viruses spreading in the community.

    I’m also not willing to deal with the potential (albeit rare) severe side effects. I’m not having something injected into my blood for no good reason.

    If I’m a jerk for making an informed decision, then so be it.

    1. I have not been sick (except for a cold once a year) since I can’t remember. The only sick days I have taken at work since 1985 have been for a toothache and for a hangover. I have not stayed home contagious sick ever.

      I am not getting a flu shot.

  10. Everyone needs to do their part during flu/cold season to help stop the spread of germs. Yes, the flu shot is part of it. Washing your hands and disinfecting your work station even when you are NOT sick are other ways. And STAY HOME when you have the flu or a bad cold! If you cannot afford to stay at home for a day or 2 to recoup then speak with your Supervisor or Manager regarding sick pay or making up your time elsewhere. You need to rest, and you should have a boss that allows you time to rest. Coming in to work sick does not make you a keener – it only makes everyone else around you sick as well – which makes you a jerk.

  11. I’ve had a flu shot every year since 1987(ish). For years I worked in government, parks and rec and at a university–all places where there are lots of people in close quarters who often show up sick. Never got sick from the shot, never got the flu. I’ve been lucky.

    I still get one each year even though I’ve worked for a private company the past 10 years because I take the bus now and my bus route has the small town high school, middle school, head start preschool and university on the same 15 minute route. In the winter it’s a little mobile germ factory!

  12. I agree with most the commenters. I have a heart condition (open heart surgery when I was born) and my cardiologist is adamant that I cannot have a flu shot. He says there’s not enough testing each year, with each different version of the shot to make him feel comfortable with me having it. Most likely I’d be fine, but he doesn’t want to risk a complication. He’d rather me get the flu than get the shot. That doesn’t make me a jerk.

    1. Or maybe that makes you one of the immune-suppressed that need everyone ELSE to get a flu shot. Herd immunity helps everyone. You’re not a jerk, you are medically compromised. I would be a jerk (except I got my shot) because I am a healthy adult with no medical issues.

      1. That vaccine-induced herd immunity is mostly myth can be proven quite simply.

        In the original description of herd immunity, the protection to the population at large occurred only if people contracted the infections naturally. The reason for this is that naturally-acquired immunity lasts for a lifetime.
        The vaccine proponents quickly latched onto this concept and applied it to vaccine-induced immunity. But, there was one major problem – vaccine-induced immunity lasted for only a relatively short period, from 2 to 10 years at most, and then this applies only to humoral immunity. This is why they began, silently, to suggest boosters for most vaccines.

        Then they discovered an even greater problem, the boosters were lasting for only 2 years or less. This is why we are now seeing mandates that youth entering colleges have multiple vaccines, even those which they insisted gave lifelong immunity, such as the MMR. The same is being suggested for full-grown adults. Ironically, no one in the media or medical field is asking what is going on. They just accept that it must be done.

        – See more at: http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/02/18/the-deadly-impossibility-of-herd-immunity-through-vaccination-by-dr-russell-blaylock/

  13. Methinks Evil might have been doing a little pre-halloween stirring the pot, or Double Double Toil and Trouble 🙂

  14. Nope, not a jerk for not getting the flu shot. I also will not get one because of other peoples compromised immune system. I’m sure some will say that makes me heartless, not my intent, but it’s my body. I’m healthy, exercise and enjoy a healthy diet and practice good hygiene. If I do get sick (haven’t had the flu in YEARS) I stay home and away from others.

  15. Yep, I agree. Evil is doing some “evil” here, so out of character for her BTW, in telling others what to do with their own bodies.

    So, tell us Suzanne, are you joking with us?

  16. Why would I be joking? I should have been more clear that you’re not a jerk if you don’t get a flu shot because it’s medically contraindicated for you.

    I tell people what to do all the time. It’s kind of my job, if you’ll recall. Do I believe that you should be forced to get a flu shot? In some situations, yes. If you work in a hospital, for instance. But, otherwise, no. Do I think you should be forced to brush your teeth, call your mother on mother’s day and eat your vegetables? No. Do I think you should o all these things? Absolutely. There’s a huge difference between telling people what they *should* do and passing laws that force them to do things.

    I’m very pro-science and pro-vaccine. Vaccines save lives. The flu vaccine isn’t as good as some of the other vaccines, that is true, but its’the best we’ve got at this time.

    1. And the notion that if it has only a 50% chance of staving off a life-threatening disease it’s not worth doing is astonishing to me. If you don’t want to have it because you hate needles or something, whatever, but if you’re going to make it about risk analysis, 50% likely success is a superb reason *to* get a vaccine.

        1. You’re still not quoting scientific support for your position, and your own statement above indicates it’s considerably more successful than “almost useless.” That’s an indication you’re drawing on emotion rather than being convinced by facts. (And saying “Then mind your own business regarding the rest of us” is sort of like saying it’s not other people’s business if fellow citizens poop in the street, or if Typhoid Mary gets a job serving your food. Unless you live in an isolationist shack in the desert, your decision affects other people, and we get to care.)

          I get that flu shots trip your alarm trigger, but your risk assessment is way off. Unless your risk aversion is so high that you, say, refuse ever to get into a car, which has a considerably higher risk of maiming and killing you than a flu vaccine does.

          1. The fact remains that the medical decisions people make regarding what is injected into their bodies is not your business.

          2. Regarding the so-called ‘Typhoid Mary’, a book titled MEDICAL VOODOO, by Annie Riley tells the story on page 337. The account reads: “Mary, a maid-servant of the better class in New York City, in the summer of 1907 was working where several cases of typhoid developed. Because Mary did not fall ill with the fever, though in contact with the patients, the only explanation that ‘medical science’ could offer for such a phenomenon, was that the woman was a ‘typhoid carrier.’ There was absolutely no evidence or proof of it except the health officer’s wild guess. Much contrary evidence was offered by Mary and her friends, but she was arrested, charged with ‘a menace to the public health,’ branded ‘Typhoid Mary’ in the newspapers, and imprisoned in the isolation hospital on North Brothers Island.” She remained there for 30 years in solitary confinement until she died. She had committed no crime. She was a victim of medical stupidity and ignorance.

  17. I work in a hospital and I DO NOT get a flu shot. Does this make me a jerk? No! Every year I see my coworkers line up and get their shots. Then every year I watch as they “mostly all” get sick. Once your body is trying to adapt to the vaccination it weakens its response to other virus you are exposed to. Also, if you dig around on the CDC website you will find that the way they calculate the number of deaths is shady at best. If someone dies of respiratory distress during flu season they are automatically counted as a flu death by the CDC. They do not even verify this by any testing measures. They just want to use the same old scare tactics to market the drugs. Oh ya, btw do you know that some of the places giving you your flu shot get government kick backs. (Even your employer) If that doesn’t raise an eyebrow nothing does.

    1. Apparently, numbers are calculated by attributing to the flu, hospitalizations and deaths during ‘flu season’ that are more than hospitalizations and deaths during ‘non flu season’, ignoring the fact that a significant portion of flu season is during winter when there might be more winter related accidents and fatalities that have nothing to do with flu.

  18. To flu shot or not flu shot? That is the question. Pros and cons have been covered here by others, so I’d just like to chime in with: IF YOU GO TO WORK SICK, YOU’RE A JERK! There’s one in every office: the Typhoid Mary (or Melvin) who saves every second of their PTO days for pleasure, and comes to work contagious, feverish, glassy eyed, and barking like a seal. They trot from desk to desk with their runny noses, saying they feel just awful, determined to not only share the joy of their own illness, but to pass the experience on to others. Between coughing in your face and sneezing on your keyboard, they say (in grave and noble tones) they simply couldn’t stay home sick because they have so much to do – funny how that never stops them when it’s time to board the Love Boat to the Caribbean a few weeks later. It drives me insane. Dear Hack-lung Heroes: You’re not fooling anyone. We all know you’re coming to work while sick out of pure selfishness, not extraordinary dedication. Please stay home and keep your germs to yourself!

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