Parenting & Family

Does anyone not get the flu vaccine for their kids?

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  • Apr 30th, 2017 10:10 am
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TrevorK wrote:
Apr 18th, 2017 9:49 pm
Why?

Do you think that people do not die from the flu?
Do you think that the flu shot is not effective against the strains it is designed for?

Why are you accepting of the reasoning for more "common" vaccines as opposed to the flu shot? I find it odd that you're onboard with the logic / reasoning but do not apply it to the flu so am curious why.
It's a fact that the flu vaccine is at times completely ineffective.
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Shaner wrote:
Apr 19th, 2017 3:33 pm
It's a fact that the flu vaccine is at times completely ineffective.
Where is the evidence that the flu vaccine is ineffective against the strains that it is designed to protect against?

And let's keep in mind no vaccine is 100% effective, so I expect your evidence to show it being less effective than other vaccines. To be completely ineffective would mean, to me, it has a very negligable effect on those strains.
Last edited by TrevorK on Apr 19th, 2017 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kiraly wrote:
Apr 18th, 2017 10:40 pm
I have a list.

  1. Serious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, etc can affect everybody very seriously; both those with and those without compromised immune systems.
  2. The vaccines mentioned above are get it once (or with the occasional booster down the road, if needed at all) and you're protected for a lifetime.
  3. Vaccines for the diseases mentioned above are pretty much 100% effective. There is no reason not to get them.
  4. The flu vaccine is only effective against certain strains of flu. Which strains? The ones that epidemiologists guess will likely be the ones that will be spreading NEXT flu season and that they put into the vaccine. Sometimes they guess right. Sometimes they guess it wrong. This year (2016-17) the effectiveness level is at 42%. In 2015-16 it was 45%. In 2014-15 it was 0%. I don't know what the effectiveness of the 2013-2014 flu shot was, but I did get the flu shot that year, and a month later contracted the worst flu of my life. I had to miss FIVE weeks of work.
  5. The flu vaccine, unlike the others, must be received every year.
  6. The flu, while not pleasant (I had a 3-week long version last year in addition to the 2014 one I already mentioned) is just not as serious as the diseases mentioned above.
  7. My provincial medical plan considers the flu shot to be of such little value to the general public, that it won't even pay for you to have it, unless you have a compromised immune system or work with those who do.

All of that said, I did get the flu shot this year. But my wife never gets it, and I have never given it to my children.
1/2: Seem fair - not reasons to skip the flu shot but are accurate statement.
3: Incorrect - for example the mumps vaccine is only about 88% effective after two shots: https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/vaccination.html
4: The researchers do not just guess - they use their education, experience and research to dictate what strains are most likely to be common. You are insulting their work by equating it to a "guess". Where are you getting your effectiveness numbers from? The CDC shows that the 2014-15 flu vaccine was not 0% so I am curious where these numbers are coming from
5: True but I don't see why that' a reason not to get it
6: Many people die from the flu. The CDC estimated in 2012-13 about 56,000 people died from influenza related causes in the United States alone. That classifies as serious to me when we have something that may prevent some (not all of course) of them.
7: I'm sorry your province does not cover it. If you cannot afford it, that's certainly a reason to skip it. But the province does not cover many things that you would not typically skip - for example my province does not cover dental care but that does not mean dental care is not a good idea.

Everyone is able to choose what vaccines they would like to get for themselves and their dependents. What is important is having accurate information to make your decisions.
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TrevorK wrote:
Apr 19th, 2017 9:47 pm
Where are you getting your effectiveness numbers from? The CDC shows that the 2014-15 flu vaccine was not 0% so I am curious where these numbers are coming from
Click the links in my post. RFD is a Canadian site, so I used Canadian numbers.
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TrevorK wrote:
Apr 19th, 2017 9:36 pm
Where is the evidence that the flu vaccine is ineffective against the strains that it is designed to protect against?

And let's keep in mind no vaccine is 100% effective, so I expect your evidence to show it being less effective than other vaccines. To be completely ineffective would mean, to me, it has a very negligable effect on those strains.
I never said it was ineffective against the strains it was designed to protect again. I said it's at times ineffective, which is usually due to it not being designed to protect again a strain that is responsible for outbreaks that specific year. The reason why it's ineffective is completely irrelevant to me. If it's ineffective against the strain that is making people sick but would be effective against a strain that is not making anyone sick that year, then it is ineffective. The whole thing is a guessing game, a very educated guess, but still a guess.

Not to mention that there's a lot of data we still don't have regarding vaccines, especially long term data. There seems to be some evidence that getting an annual flu shot makes you susceptible to getting the flu, not the other way around.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-vacci ... -1.2912790

What else will we discover after 30-40 years of research?
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Kiraly wrote:
Apr 18th, 2017 10:40 pm
The flu vaccine, unlike the others, must be received every year.
TrevorK wrote:
Apr 19th, 2017 9:47 pm
True but I don't see why that' a reason not to get it
That's the issue with me, not enough data to indicate if a lifetime of yearly immunizations has adverse long term effects, on top of the fact that it becomes something you were unnecessarily subjected to if the guess was wrong or no outbreak occurs, or simply you don’t work/engage around the public often. Sure that can be said about any immunization but the annual frequency remains a potential and unknown risk.

I would rather wait until I am vulnerable to receive the flu shot than to risk my family's long term health for the supposed greater good. And l would not impose that on people if I was vulnerable. Public health advocates who cannot quantify that risk often use that overtone of guilt, "you help protect the weak", however, it assumes the probability that we are potential carriers when in fact, I've maybe had the flu once in my whole life. If that's selfish thinking, I'm sorry but it is clearly a choice we are allowed to make and there is some rationale for it.
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Kiraly wrote:
Apr 19th, 2017 10:10 pm
Click the links in my post. RFD is a Canadian site, so I used Canadian numbers.
I would trust the CDC over a CBC article. If you can post your numbers from a reputable Canadian site for research then we can have a conversation about vaccine effectiveness, but 0% effectiveness is quite the claim without pointing to any research that provides their evidence.
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AncasterRFD wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 1:08 pm
Public health advocates who cannot quantify that risk often use that overtone of guilt, "you help protect the weak", however, it assumes the probability that we are potential carriers when in fact, I've maybe had the flu once in my whole life. If that's selfish thinking, I'm sorry but it is clearly a choice we are allowed to make and there is some rationale for it.
You are welcome to make whatever choice you want. But you can transmit the flu without any symptoms, and with lesser symptoms that you may just write off as a cold.

5. MYTH: You can't spread the flu if you're feeling well.
Actually, 20% to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms.
http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases- ... -flu-myths

There are definitely some reasons to be hesitant to get the flu shot. However this thread has shown there are many myths out there that people believe to justify their decision.
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I LOL every time I hear stories of people getting sick after getting the flu shot. So does that mean if I don't get sick after taking the flu shot, I was saved from the flu this year by the miracles of science and modern medicine? I think both notions are misguided.

Everyone has their personal biases and assumptions and it's hard to change them.

Just hope people can find the truth from more trusted sources than just their own gut feelings.
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TrevorK wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 11:05 pm
But you can transmit the flu without any symptoms...
(sorry for the long read)

I didn't say you can't, that's why I purposely added the word "probability" to my post. Let's apply that 20-30% to me. Then in theory, I had the flu 2-3x in the last 10y. Yet none of my family has had the flu in that period. Compound the risk by giving my family members their own 20-30%, and I'm including the vulnerable young and old in my circle who I've come in close contact. But we know the organism is highly contagious? You see where I’m going with this and stats? Maybe it's yours or worse, but it's NOT my personal experience, which shapes my logic. I don't expect you to have the same train of thought.

Then there's the big question you haven't addressed at least three of us. Are we putting ourselves at risk of developing future diseases by getting a lifetime of annual influenza vaccinations? You can't answer that, it's okay, there are no clear answers, it's too early to study it.

This MY angle, again I don't expect you to agree here. We won't talk about its potential relationship with autoimmune diseases, that's a bit abstract. Let's talk neurologically, it's a fact that there is a risk of GBS following a flu shot. We ask people if they have neurologic disease or recently had GBS before administering it for the reason it may exacerbate it again. Yes, the risk is very small but we CAN'T assume the odds are the same in the 30th, 40th, or 50th year. It might be a lot higher and eventually be attached to a host of age-related neurological diseases due to the fact it CAN acutely affect our nervous system now. It's short-sited to think it's not a cumulative risk.

Secondly, it’s established that viruses are related to some cancers (and I know it's a dead virus in the vaccine, that's not what I'm getting at). At some point, our body's immune system can’t regulate homeostatic cell reproduction, we develop cancer. It's an inevitable disease if we don't succumb to something else. So how much can our immune system take or be tested? It’s relatively safe for children to receive several vaccinations, it’s natural for them to be exposed to multiple antigens early in life. But the same isn’t happening in adulthood. Where is it in nature that we solicit 2 antigen responses to an otherwise dangerous disease EVERY single year? So doing that won’t affect our immunological clock? Because I can guarantee it’s not extending it. And just because it might be beneficial now doesn't mean it won't harm us later. Who foresaw the overuse of antibiotics would lead to deadly ARO’s? Or drugs that were approved too early caused problems and birth defects?

I don't expect you to think the same, nor am I trying to influence you. I’m merely stating how “I” feel about it. Perhaps you are one of the vulnerable, or someone close to you has died because of the flu and you are at odds with the disease? Perhaps you disregard all these "what ifs"? Your perspective may be completely different from mine, and I respect that. I also respect that you might not agree with my logic. However, you can't change someone who thinks that way no matter how you approach it unless you have a direct answer for it. Neither can I influence you, because of how your beliefs are shaped.
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TrevorK wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 11:01 pm
I would trust the CDC over a CBC article. If you can post your numbers from a reputable Canadian site for research then we can have a conversation about vaccine effectiveness, but 0% effectiveness is quite the claim without pointing to any research that provides their evidence.
The CBC doesn't arbitrarily write numbers down, they report on numbers provided by experts. Here's a better article explaining where the numbers came from.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-vacci ... -1.2937144

Surely you trust a doctor who is an influenza specialist at the BC center for disease control. On top of that, there's this gem...
There is an emerging school of thought that repeated vaccination in some circumstances may actually undermine the protectiveness of the vaccine. Skowronski said the area needs additional research.
Obviously no conclusions can be made yet, but I think that's what some of us are worried about, what do we not yet know about the flu vaccine? On top of offering very mediocre to no protection some years, there may be some evidence that getting the flu vaccine annually might actually make you susceptible to getting the flu. Side effects are sometimes not seen for years or even decades.
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AncasterRFD wrote:
Apr 21st, 2017 11:58 am
I didn't say you can't, that's why I purposely added the word "probability" to my post. Let's apply that 20-30% to me. Then in theory, I had the flu 2-3x in the last 10y. Yet none of my family has had the flu in that period. Compound the risk by giving my family members their own 20-30%, and I'm including the vulnerable young and old in my circle who I've come in close contact. But we know the organism is highly contagious? You see where I’m going with this and stats? Maybe it's yours or worse, but it's NOT my personal experience, which shapes my logic. I don't expect you to have the same train of thought.
You're adding in too many variables that are personal. You have no idea who around you actually has the flu, and you have no idea whether you yourself have the flu. Further, probability does not work the way you are defining it - you could have very well had the flu each of the ten years. You could have had it none of those years. You cannot derive a statement of "2-3x in the last 10y" from the percentages given.

The reason we use statistics is to remove personal experience, because it's not verifiable or measurable. Essentially, it's not valid. We look at larger samples in a more academic way and try to provide explanations as to why they occur and how to interpret the results. Instead you are extrapolating your personal experience and expecting the results to fit it - that's not an appropriate use of the data.
Then there's the big question you haven't addressed at least three of us. Are we putting ourselves at risk of developing future diseases by getting a lifetime of annual influenza vaccinations? You can't answer that, it's okay, there are no clear answers, it's too early to study it.
There is no question to address - the flu vaccine is different every year and it addresses different flu strains. The composition of it may also change. There is literally no way to know the long term side effects of each flu vaccine until they have happened. And, if the method of creating the vaccine or the strains change dramatically, but the time long term results are provided, they may not be valid on the current vaccine.

You are asking a question no one can answer, and therefore will always be unsatisfied with the answer.

So why keep asking the question if, even when it can be answered, the answer may not be applicable any longer?
Let's talk neurologically, it's a fact that there is a risk of GBS following a flu shot.
Source? All I see is that there was a study about the 1976 swine flu shot that slightly increased the risk. Otherwise, I direct you to the following statement from the CDC:
The link between GBS and flu vaccination in other years is unclear, and if there is any risk for GBS after seasonal flu vaccines it is very small, about one in a million. Studies suggest that it is more likely that a person will get GBS after getting the flu than after vaccination.
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine ... nbarre.htm

These studies would suggest you are more likely to get GBS after getting the flu, not after getting the vaccine. The flu shot helps prevent you, and others, from getting the flu - that's established. That's actually a fact. By extension, is it reasonable to conclude that if fewer people are getting the flu, fewer people are then getting GBS? Well it would seem that way but we would need to evaluate the studies to determine that before we attempt to call it a "fact".
I don't expect you to think the same, nor am I trying to influence you. I’m merely stating how “I” feel about it. Perhaps you are one of the vulnerable, or someone close to you has died because of the flu and you are at odds with the disease? Perhaps you disregard all these "what ifs"? Your perspective may be completely different from mine, and I respect that. I also respect that you might not agree with my logic. However, you can't change someone who thinks that way no matter how you approach it unless you have a direct answer for it. Neither can I influence you, because of how your beliefs are shaped.
I do not have a problem with people thinking different for their own reasons - such as if you had someone you knew who contracted something because of the flu shot, and that being your reason for not having it because you feel it could happen to you. But your reasoning needs to be based on something - if it's a gut feeling that things are not studied enough, that's great, because as I agree, there is no real way to study a specific vaccine until it has been used for a period of time and the flu vaccine is ever changing. If it is based on incorrect information, such as many posters in here have made, then the individual needs to reevaluate their knowledge and put a little more effort into determining if their beliefs are incorrect.

There is nothing wrong with changing your thought - we all grow throughout our lives and learn new information. Often people are stuck with the same biases they acquired years and years ago, never looking to reevaluate their information and knowledge.
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NubNub wrote:
Apr 21st, 2017 11:15 am
I LOL every time I hear stories of people getting sick after getting the flu shot. So does that mean if I don't get sick after taking the flu shot, I was saved from the flu this year by the miracles of science and modern medicine? I think both notions are misguided.

Everyone has their personal biases and assumptions and it's hard to change them.

Just hope people can find the truth from more trusted sources than just their own gut feelings.
Getting the flu or feeling unwell after the shot can have at least a few explanations:
- a positive nasal swab for influenza means you caught a different strain or you did not mount a response in time (takes at least 14d) or you failed to develop antibodies at all from a weakened immune system
- you coincidentally caught a bad cold, it is not the same as influenza
- mildly unwell, your body generated a response that may occur with any vaccine

In terms of any particular strain, your body has to recognize it to fight it off because it was already seen in the vaccine or you were already ill with it once. It's a constantly moving stealthy target.
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Shaner wrote:
Apr 21st, 2017 12:18 pm
The CBC doesn't arbitrarily write numbers down, they report on numbers provided by experts. Here's a better article explaining where the numbers came from.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-vacci ... -1.2937144

Surely you trust a doctor who is an influenza specialist at the BC center for disease control. On top of that, there's this gem...
The CBC may have made a mistake in reporting someone else's results.

By your logic, why would we not trust the CDC then which does not have a 0% result? Surely you would trust their team of doctors.
Obviously no conclusions can be made yet, but I think that's what some of us are worried about, what do we not yet know about the flu vaccine? On top of offering very mediocre to no protection some years, there may be some evidence that getting the flu vaccine annually might actually make you susceptible to getting the flu. Side effects are sometimes not seen for years or even decades.
Again, post your studies that show no protection for some years. I have posted the CDC's results, which is a credible source. Post the research if it is so prevalent, otherwise I would highly recommend you reevaluate your decision because it is based on a lack of actual evidence.

This I am fine with if that's your reason for not getting it. I agree completely - we will never many of the long term effects until they have already happened, and because it is likely the vaccine will have changed by the time this happens, the results will not be applicable to the current vaccine. For all we know, a long term effect could be the complete eradication of the flu or it could be the introduction of new strains previously unseen. No one knows. What I am opposed to are the reasons that people give which are proven to be incorrect - those individuals need to reevaluate their decision to see if their reasons are still valid in light of the new (to them) evidence.
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The CDC is not Canadian. Perhaps their stats are correct at 23% (which is still mediocre protection at best) and perhaps the BC center for disease control is also correct at 0% because they are two completely different countries. Perhaps the vaccine used was slightly different between both countries. Perhaps the strain of flu circulating varied. Perhaps their method of screening for the flu is different. There's a lot of reasons why the numbers may be different. Either way, I choose to pay attention to Canadian numbers considering that's where I live. Plus the study was partly based on Ontario numbers, which is the province I live in.

Here's the full study that you requested.
http://www.eurosurveillance.org/Viewart ... leId=21022
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