To Flu Shot or Not to Flu Shot? that is the question

i get my flu shot every year. in fact, i just got mine this past wednesday. my endo discourages me from getting them. he says he doesn’t believe in them at all. ( i find this enormously peculiar, especially b/c he is a T1 Pumper himself) (but as most of you already know, them man is an imbecile )

anyhow, my PC doctor believes strenuously in getting the shot, and believes, furthermore, that it is very important for me, as i am D. so, who do i listen to? my PC doc. he is brilliant and rarely, and i must emphasize this :rarely, agrees with my endo.

its only august 18th but have you had your flu shot this year? do you bother to get one? and, if you do, have you ever had a reaction to one? even something like a mild version of the flu? a few days worth of aches and exhaustion in bed during which time your loving significant other dotes upon you?

would love to hear from all of you. this has proven to be a highly debatable topic on another web sight which will remain to be unknown (but it starts with a T :wink: ).

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I dunno, @daisymae … Listen to the “imbecile” one or the “brilliant” one? Tough choice. Real tough. I’ll leave it to better minds.

But I get my flu shot every year. Being susceptible to nasties like norovirus, I do not need the flu as well, and in fact have never had the flu since I started getting shots many years ago. I rarely even feel soreness at the injection site. (My partner, on the other hand, most years feels like crap for a day or so afterwards. But this is a fellow who every time he gets a common cold flails on the couch and says he wishes he could die and please no one tell him I said that.) My understanding is that you cannot get the flu, mild version or otherwise, from a flu vaccination. Scientifically impossible, so they say, because the vaccine does not contain any live virus. If you believe the vaccine has made you come down with the flu, then you were either already coming down with the flu or your immune system has gone into overdrive, which it is apt to do in response to any vaccine. That said, I do not follow the debate that closely, because I think the debate is silly. Why people would invite the flu to visit them, or knowingly infect others, is beyond me. But the older I get, more and more things are beyond me.

What’s also beyond me is why I sound so totally different in this forum than in the other one.


Flu shots? Man, there is nothing a good old leach blood-sucking won’t cure. Or an onion sandwich. We don’t need modern medicine DM. The old fashioned remedies work just fine!

BTW, Harold has not added the sarcastic font yet, so I want to point out, yes I am kidding! As we’ve already established, your endo is an idiot.

Yes, get your flu shot every year. It might affect you for a few days, but it’s better than the alternative.

I’ve never had a reaction to them.

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@Beacher Liberating to be among friends, isn’t it?


I am on the fence. I personally feel the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is crap. I have full faith that modern science can do a whole lot better. I think the WILL is lacking. And I know when the word “effectiveness” is used in terms of a vaccine it turns into an entire conversation about what that even means. Bottom line. I am on the fence.

I do believe that strict hand washing probably is more effective at flu prevention than the flu shot. Second to hand washing (my opinion still) is adequate sleep. My definition of adequate sleep is waking up before the alarm clock.

My daughter is old enough to rationally consider it and I don’t believe I have any better information on the subject then she does. If she wants the flu vaccine then I get it with her.

FWIW - I was just told at the Pharmacy that they were just informed that there is a US National shortage of the “High Dose” flu vaccine intended for the “over 65” population. Take that for what it is worth.

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A flu shot contains killed virus. It can’t give you the flu. (The nasal flu vaccine contains weakened, attenuated virus, which can’t replicate at body temperature).

However, as it stimulates an immune response, it could theoretically induce high blood sugar, similar to an infection. And that’s possibly why it causes “flulike” symptoms in some – it’s basically triggering a weaker version of the immune response that is normally responsible for most symptoms of illness.

The logic of getting the flu shot for a T1D is pretty sound; with weakened immune systems and more serious potential side effects from a stomach bug, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t. Even if it doesn’t work that well, it’s still the best option we have.

I think there is some debate in epidemiological circles about who most benefits from a flu shot… I.e. are we always emphasizing that the right people get the vaccine? Maybe elderly people benefit more/less… maybe young people aren’t getting it enough? Maybe we should only be immunizing the pregnant or the immunocompromised? Maybe some populations shouldn’t need to take it, and maybe some that should aren’t? But I don’t know that there’s serious debate about the idea that certain people should take it.

Also, keep in mind that the flu shot isn’t always effective for an individual because they’re “guessing” which strain of virus is going to circulate in North America this year based on what’s hit Asia a few months earlier. Sometimes it turns out they’re wrong and everyone just got their immune system boosted against a virus that never circulates. However, there’s some evidence that a flu shot is often partly effective in those circumstances, meaning it doesn’t completely prevent the flu but will make it less severe.



I laugh when I hear people discuss the misconception of how they’re being injected with “live virus”.

I have full faith that modern science can do a whole lot better. I think the WILL is lacking.

Basically I wouldn’t knock those flu researchers quite so hard yet. Flu is super tricky. It basically does a complete costume change every year and mutates, with the proteins on its outer envelope mutating very quickly. That’s the portion of the flu virus that our immune system is able to recognize, meaning it’s also the part that would be used as a trigger for any vaccine.

That said, it’s a good time to be a mouse if you have the flu… Seems like early research has shown a universal vaccine may be feasible.


I am not going to pretend to know all this bio stuff. (My field is certainly not biological)

But some of this is in fairly clear language.

(I am sure anybody with half a degree in bio-something could get a dozen studies that show one thing and another dozen studies that show the opposite but this is just what I saw on a 5 second google search)

“Influenza vaccines have a very modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost in the general population, including pregnant women. No evidence of association between influenza vaccination and serious adverse events was found in the comparative studies considered in the review.”;jsessionid=CA276345AE9A705DEB9DC7F5D40B48F3.f03t04

I remain on the fence with the flu vaccine.

There are literally thousands of different flu strain sub-types and there is no way that scientists can account for all of these strains that are active around the world. The task…and the difficulty that Scientists have each year is to predict the most prominent strains that will be present and then add those into the flu shot to inoculate the person against the flu. They can’t add protection for every single strain into the shots so they do the best they can. As is, from what I’ve read, around 40% of Americans end up getting protected from “the flu”.

I would rather get the shot (and always have) and have some protection (with zero negative effects or “down sides”) than to not get it and have zero potential protection.


It really depends upon the luck of the draw. Since it takes many months to grow the vaccines, several months before the flu season, epidemiologists decide based on the info they have at the time what strains they will cover.

So, by the time the flu season comes, three factors are in play:

  1. Which strains actually became dominant? Some seasons, flu shots cover a lot of them, other seasons not.

  2. Which strains are dominant IN YOUR REGION?

  3. Which actual strain do you catch?

So, with the flu, you have to play the odds.

As for me, I am a big proponent of flu shots. And, like @Thomas, I also think they could be better.

I haven’t gotten the flu for 15 years and I get the flu shot every year. My family members have gotten it (wife, kids, etc.,) Only my immune system? Genetics? Super stud-itis? Maybe…but I wager it has something to do with those flu shots I get. :smiley:


I get a flu shot every year. My endo wants me to get it in late October or early November. He says that will protect me through February. He says getting it now is too early.


Yeah I agree that the evidence for benefit overall, when lumping all flu vaccines for all seasons, is modest at best. The issue is there’s just so much confounding the result s-- is it that they guessed the wrong strain? Is it that the flu vaccine itself isn’t working so well? Is it that the lab test to identify flu virus is just crummy, so you get a bunch of sick people in the hospital with flu symptoms and then you have no idea if they really had the flu or some other weird bug, meaning you have no idea if the flu vaccine they got really worked? Who knows.

I do think it makes more sense than not to get the flu vaccine if you are immunocompromised or elderly. There is no evidence of serious harm, so you are weighing modest/equivocal benefit against very transient and low-stakes harms.


I definitely know that my husband got the dreaded swine flu (or was it bird flu?) in 2010 or whenever it was circulating. I had gotten my shot a lot earlier and did not get it, despite him being exposed.

Of course, we also have different immune systems and in general it’s rare for all of us in the house to come down with something.


Ha! :speak_no_evil:

I haven’t had the flu shot yet, but I will get it in October or November when my GP invites me to get one. Fortunately, I’ve never had a reaction to a flu shot.

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I have to get the flu shot for my job, so it’s not an option. That said, I’d happily do it regardless—I’ve gotten the shot all 25 years since diagnosis, and the last time I got the flu was the year before that (or if I’ve had it since, symptoms have been so mild that it hasn’t registered as such). During that time I’ve worked in hospitals and in university settings (coming in contact with 100s of germ-infested undergrads…), so I’m sure I’ve been exposed to the flu during that time. Maybe a coincidence and maybe I’ve just been ridiculously lucky, but I’m not about to stop now. Also, if I weren’t already on board, my friend’s mother (who I believe was maybe around 60? and healthy) died from the flu and resulting pneumonia not that long ago. While that’s just an anecdote, it definitely nailed home the point for me that the flu does indeed kill people, and not just the very old/young and infirm.

I’ve actually been debating getting the pneumonia shot one of these days too, since I’ve heard that is also recommended for diabetics and I believe it’s a one-time deal, so not hard to do. I always forget about it except when I’m getting my flu shot though, and I don’t want to do them at the same time.

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I get the flu shot every year. I don’t think I have ever had the flu in my life, except maybe in elementary or high school. I’ve never had a reaction to the shot. When I got the pneumonia vaccine my arm swelled up and was hot, itchy and sore for a week and a half, but according to the doctor that was just my immune system over-reacting (as usual). I put some Benadryl cream on it and it was fine.

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Great idea. I will look into this for us. My T1D son used to have asthma when he was younger, so he tends to catch every respiratory illness around

That is a pretty amazing record. Possibly your over-reacting immune system is actually really good at catching foreign invaders.