Will you get a flu shot this year?

The CDC has more than 100 million doses of this year's flu vaccine available--enough so that anyone who wants one can get one. (Doctors and clinics will start receiving the vaccine next month.)

Last year 86 million doses were available, but 4.8 million went unused. Yet 200 million Americans are either considered high risk themselves or have close contact with someone at high risk and should consider getting the shot.

People on the CDC's priority list include:

  • Health care providers,
  • Children between 6 months and 5 years old,
  • People with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease,
  • And people older than 50.

It's best to get vaccinated in October or November so there's time for immunity to develop before the flu season hits. But numbers of influenza cases usually peak in February, so even a late shot offers some protection.

Every year somewhere between 5 and 20% of the US population catches influenza. 200,000 of them need hospital care, and 36,000 die.

So...will you be getting a flu shot this year? Vote in our poll, and tell us why or why not.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Want to know more about seasonal influenza? Check out this blog entry ("Ready...set...sneeze!"), or type "flu" into the search box.

posted on Thu, 09/21/2006 - 12:38pm
cat simpson's picture
cat simpson says:

Last year was the first year in many that I got a flu shot. It took me two doctor was I finally got one at our local health dept. I also got a pneumonia shot. Last year was the first year that I had absolutely no colds at all. Every year up to that time I had really bad colds with a few developing into something more serious with high fever, chills and terrible cough. Now I tell everyone I see to go get that shot.......

posted on Wed, 10/04/2006 - 3:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

What's with health insurance? I have Mulitple Sclerosis and am on treatment to prevent dibilitating effects later on. My health insurance has recently decided to increase the cost of my treatment to an outrageous $200 per month. I cannot afford this, but similarly, I cannot afford to go off the treatment. This treatment will help me be a functioning member of society later on, so why does the insurance company think it's right to charge me an arm and a leg (literally) right now when preventative treatment is more beneficial for them in the long run?
Crooks...they're all a bunch of crooks.
-Meg, Morris MN

posted on Mon, 10/16/2006 - 3:21pm
Tammy's picture
Tammy says:

I will not be able to because I have had the desease called Guillian barre and cant get it

posted on Tue, 10/17/2006 - 2:51pm
michelle's picture
michelle says:

what age were you when u had G/S? what did you go thru? I had it when I was 17, in 1988- I graduated in a wheelchair.

posted on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 10:58am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I had GBS about three years ago. All I remember is that i am not supposed to get a flu shot. There were several other things that I was told not to do. I do not remember all of them and I was wondering if you could give any information.


posted on Wed, 10/03/2007 - 7:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am not getting a flu shot this year because I never do and I probablly never will. Plus, I HATE shots!

posted on Wed, 10/18/2006 - 10:19am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Flu shots are icky and needles hurt but you should still get one because it keeps you healthy!! get one so you don't infect other people!!!! GOSH

posted on Wed, 10/18/2006 - 1:00pm
a person who thinks this keyboard is annoying's picture
a person who thinks this keyboard is annoying says:

I dont think that I really need one and that if I got one I'd be taking away from the people who do need it or at least holding them up. Besides, I dont think it is ESSENTIAL for my survival to get one. I'm only 13 after all.

posted on Mon, 10/23/2006 - 3:11pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

because Shots are toxic

posted on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 2:58pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

You shouldn't get a flu shot if you're allergic to eggs, for sure, or if you've ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome. But flu shots are NOT toxic. They're highly purified and many are preservative free.

posted on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 4:28pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I dont know why people my age should not get flu shots...But when i went to my doctor she OFFERED me the flu shot,I didn't ask for it.And now i'm protected!!!

posted on Fri, 11/17/2006 - 12:09pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Got flu shot last Fri. Got sick on Sunday. Been down ever since. MISERABLE to the max. Went back to DR. Dr. says it's coincidence, I say BS. Now got three scripts and the bartender is ready to give away my chair at Happy Hour!

What's a man to do????

posted on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 3:08pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Well, I don't know what to say to convince you if you won't believe you own doctor but the flu shot does not give you the flu. The flu shot has a small, DEAD portion of the flu virus. This dead virus does not give you the flu.

Its sad to still see willful ignorance about the flu shot in wake of a rare death of Minnesota girl who probably could have been spared with a flu shot.

posted on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 4:09pm
wayne pilato's picture
wayne pilato says:

You gotta be a dr,(LOL). Think it's just coincidence? Why didn't the shot prevent it? By the way, it's not "willful ignorance" but rather experience that often leads to questions like this.

Thanx for the input

Wayne Pilato
Neshanic Station, NJ

posted on Sat, 02/03/2007 - 2:18am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

It takes a while for your body to generate antibodies after you get the flu shot--usually about two weeks for full protection.

And the flu is circulating widely.

I do think it's just a coincidence.

posted on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 11:30am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

you may want to get your facts straight. the shot DOES contain a portion of the live Virus. They have taken it out of the flu shots they give to children. Ive never had the flu in my life until I got a flu shot and my son too at the same time. We both had the flu two weeks later. We've never had a shot since and have not had the flu again. I think its a money maker for all those involved. I understand that people at risk should protect themselves but if your a healthy individual let your immune system take care of you.

posted on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 11:27pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:


The flu shot does NOT contain live virus. Some of the newer flu vaccines--like FluMist--do contain weakened but live virus, but the shot doesn't. And it cannot give you influenza.

Certain preservatives, including the controversial Thimerosal, have been removed from pediatric flu vaccines for use in the US. But the dead viruses, or dead virus particles, are what prime the body's defenses against influenza. They most certainly have not been removed from the shot.

Read some of the other posts to find out how long it takes to develop immunity, and how influenza is passed from person to person.

posted on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 10:26am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Bryan's right.

Influenza is all over Minnesota right now, with many counties reporting illness. This is the peak season, and it takes a while for the flu shot to confer immunity. That's why public health specialists recommend getting the flu shot in the late fall or early winter, before the virus is circulating widely--you'll have time to build up antibodies and, hopefully, avoid the flu altogether.

posted on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 5:26pm
rick's picture
rick says:

I am a health care worker and understand that the flu shot oly covers one or two strains of the virus and if the virus you are exposed to isn't one covered you will get the flu. I am a healthy middle aged guy and so I don't get it. I find it interesting that in the department that I work in, I am the only one who didn't get the flu shot, and I am also the only one who hasn't had the flu!

posted on Fri, 02/02/2007 - 6:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I had Influenza!

posted on Sat, 02/03/2007 - 2:17pm
jimmy's picture
jimmy says:

i don't know if this website is still working , is it possible for a perfectly healthy young adult , who's never been sick , catch a flu ? LOL sound ridiculous , but issit possible in a country without flu season ?

posted on Tue, 06/19/2007 - 6:25pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

"Flu season" just means we expect more reports of influenza cases during those months. But influenza viruses are always circulating, and it's possible to pick up a case of the flu any time of the year.

Influenza is an infectious disease. If you're exposed, you're vulnerable. Certain populations are more at risk, both for picking up influenza in the first place and for developing complications, but certainly it's possible for a healthy young adult, with no underlying medical concerns, to get the flu.

posted on Tue, 06/19/2007 - 7:30pm
Christine's picture
Christine says:

I got the flu shot 3 years ago,I became terrible sick after a week with the worst flu for a whole month ,I have been ill since then dizziness ,extreme fatique, brainfog ,tinnitus. Very hard to live like this and I had so many test so far everything normal ,and I am still sick.

posted on Thu, 11/29/2007 - 10:28pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I will never get a flu shot. The flu shot is developed based on a guess from the year before as to which strains of influenza will be circulating the next year. Only a couple of strains are included in the shot, whereas there are many strains of influenza. The flu shot DOES NOT protect against any of the other strains. What it does is lower natural immunity to ALL kinds of disease, not just the flu. It also adds toxic mercury (thimerosal), a neurotoxin still in flu shots (they've stopped using it in other vaccines) to your body. Thanks, but no thanks. I am sorry to hear that some of you got sick after receiving the shot.

posted on Fri, 12/07/2007 - 10:56pm
Worried MoM in NY's picture
Worried MoM in NY says:

My son got the flu shot several months ago and he just came down with the flu last week. He is only 15 months old. He was so sick it was scary. The doctor acted as if it was no big deal that my husband and I could not keep his fevers under control and told me that the fevers didn't matter. He told me a very high fever like 105 degrees was not a reason to bring him into the ER. I was shocked. Needless to say, he is finally getting better. Still very weak though. I don't know what to think about future vaccinations. He is also behaving differently now that he is better. His temper tantrums have changed. I hope it's just a coincidence.

posted on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 5:46pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Well...First of all, I'm sorry your son wasn't feeling well.

If he got the flu shot a few months ago, and he got "the flu" last week, then there is no relationship between the shot and the illness. Kids under two actually need two doses of the flu shot to be completely protected; sounds like you maybe weren't given that information, or maybe your son picked up the actual illness before he could get the second shot?

Also, this year's flu shot doesn't provide complete coverage. One of the strains that's showing up all over first appeared right after scientists chose the strains for inclusion in this year's vaccine, and so wasn't included.

The illness you describe is exactly the reason that pediatricians recommend that kids be vaccinated against the flu. A course of influenza is scary, very uncomfortable, and takes a long time to get over.

Truthfully, though, your pediatrician is right: high fevers in young children are generally nothing to worry about, and doctors look at their other symptoms before recommending that you bring a child into the office or the ER. I can tell you this because my two girls run high fevers (>105) at the drop of a hat, and our older one gets febrile seizures. In the ER, they're only going to do the same course of treatment you can do at home, and you'll be exposing your little guy to every germ in the emergency department while you're at it. Our pediatrician always recommends alternating or combined doses of Motrin and Tylenol (ask your son's doctor for instructions about doing this, if you don't already know how), along with warm baths (to wet the head and chest and lower the temperature, but not to induce shivering), light layers of clothes, and fluids, fluids, fluids. Dehydration is the real problem, not the fever.

Sometimes kids act differently after an illness because YOU'VE been acting differently, or because they're not yet feeling 100%. But if you truly think something is wrong, by all means--take your son in and have him evaluated.

posted on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 10:24am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am a type 1 diabetic and get the shot every year and it works fine. I got the last one early decemeber 2007 and shortly after had a mild flu, then a month later got another flu and we are now in February 2008 and i have been with full blown flu symptoms for the past week. I had fever for 3 days straight and everything. I can't understand why this happened. Does anyone know why this could of happened?

posted on Fri, 02/15/2008 - 10:58pm
Dani's picture
Dani says:

I am extremely athletic and normally a vegetarian who eats fish and gets my 60g of protein daily for my weight so please don't comment that I may have hypoproteinemia because I have blood tests all the time and don't. I have never had a medical condition in my life. I got my flu shot only because I am a 4th year nursing student and starting pre-med in Sept so I want to protect my patients. I recieved the flu shot (Vaxigrip which is low thimerosal), on Dec 30. It is Jan 8th. I have been laid out and weak since the day after the shot and had a very sore arm. I am weak, brain foggy, upper back hurts, swollen glands, fogetful, and have low energy. This is totally unlike me and I hope it goes away. Has anyone else experienced this?

posted on Sat, 01/10/2009 - 8:14pm
Ajido-Marujido's picture

I have the same symptom with you Dani, I got Flu Shot on January, 9th 2009 but around a week after Flu Shot on January, 16th 2009 which is my birthday, I got Flu so bad until now I'm still sick and can't speak well due to Flu.

posted on Tue, 01/20/2009 - 8:28am

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