Excuses

Why not get a flu shot?  In a comment on yesterday’s post (where I started off trying to convince myself that I didn’t need a flu shot this year, but ended up deciding that it would be a good idea to do it despite getting vaccinated against 2/3 of the components last year), Wren said:

I’ll get the shot when it’s available. I’ve never really understood why someone wouldn’t get it, particularly if it cost them nothing. Personally, I’ve never had any adverse reaction, I’ve never gotten “the flu” after getting the shot, and the injection itself is quick and almost painless. When I compare getting the shot to getting sick with the seasonal flu, particularly while taking meds that lower my immune response, there’s just no argument.

As one who usually comes up with excuses to skip the recommended flu shot, I think I can come up with some reasons to avoid having a needle stuck into my being.

  1. It’s not vaccine specific.  I don’t like any shots.
  2. My arm is sore enough for days afterward that I have to modify my routine.
  3. I and most of my kids are sensitive/allergic to chicken eggs.  Many vaccines are contraindicated for those with egg allergies.  We have to be watched carefully after vaccines.
  4. Last year one of my kids nearly passed out after getting a shot.
  5. One year, one of my kids started puking after getting a shot.  Ewww!  Fortunately, the garbage can was easy to grab.  That child is watched even more carefully now.
  6. I don’t have the time it would take to go get a shot.  It’s not a five-minute jab.  It’s an hour to drive there, time spent waiting in the waiting room, time spent waiting in the exam room, time spent being observed for adverse reaction afterward, then time spent travelling home.  I have to budget a minimum of three hours to go get a shot.
  7. Fuel isn’t cheap.  I don’t just pop in to the doctor’s office – or anywhere else.  I have to carefully plan trips to make sure the gas gauge isn’t sitting on empty.
  8. Skip shots to avoid being harassed by anti-vaccine folks.  Here’s part of the exchange from when I got one of my vaccines last year:

“No way I’m having someone pump that into my children’s veins.  Did you do your homework first?

Then there was my EMT friend wanting to know how I managed to score something that was in such high demand.

I’ve had anti-vaxers in the past criticize my carefully thought-out decision to protect my children from the ravages of childhood diseases.  It’s just not something I feel like dealing with all the time.  We’ll probably not announce it when we finally get our shots this year.

If you don’t want to do something, it’s easy to come up with excuses, so there are sure to be other reasons, too.   If you’ve had a bad experience, it’s even easier.

My experience with flu is worse, though, so in my house, we’ll get the shots.

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4 thoughts on “Excuses

  1. As I said, I’ve been lucky enough over the years that I’ve never had an adverse reaction to a flu vaccine, Socks. Since I get my medical care through the VA, the last couple of years I’ve gotten my flu shots at the medical center while I was there anyway for other appointments (they set up a station in the main lobby–”FLU SHOTS HERE”–there’s rarely a line and it really is amazingly quick, painless and efficient. Smiles all around. But like you, I’d resent having to drive for an hour and then wait around, cooling my heels, just to get a flu shot. I’d resent the gas burned during the drive and the intrusion into my schedule. And I can imagine that having to deal with bad reactions following the shot would definitely heighten my reluctance.

    Getting or not getting the seasonal flu shot is absolutely a personal decision. I’ve no problem with either decision. But like you, too, I’d rather get the shot than get the flu.

  2. An excellent follow up. As a nurse who has done flu shot clinics in work places and retail settings I have heard every excuse in the book!

    I do have to commend work places that make arrangements to have shots on site. It makes it easy for the employees. Most will allow family members to receive the vaccine too.

    Deciding to get the shot is a personal decision but it brings responsibilty also.

  3. I don’t get the flu shot – I’m also allergic to eggs. I did research, my doctor and I spoke about it, considered the pros and cons and when H1N1 hit, I got a just-in-case prescription for Tamiflu. No shot.

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