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October 6th, 2009
08:04 AM ET

Would you get a flu shot if your employer asked?

According to the CDC, the main way that influenza viruses spread is from person to person, through coughs and sneezes. People can also pass the virus before they even know they are infected.

The workplace is a breeding ground for the exchange of germs and viruses. So - Some employers are offering free flu shots at work.

Would you get a flu shot if your employer asked?

Leave a comment and Heidi will read some of them on the air. Watch The Newsroom today from 9a– 11a.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Anthony

    No I would not..the flu shot brings too many risks with it... you can get serious problems in a later stage of your life. Last time I checked there are many people in the world that consciously make the choice not to get any shots because of religious beliefs. Furthermore I feel the whole hype around the Swine flu is blown way out of proportions ... every year thousands die of regular flu..this is no different then that..take care of yourself.. eat and sleep well and exercise more..then most will be fine..

    October 6, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  2. wsb-bethesda, MD

    I get the flu shot becuase it makes medical/scientific sense to do so. I get my flu shot at highly reputable medical facility that is in the business of operating as a medical facility. I would not get a flu shot in a pharmacy, grociery store or in a dentist's office. Yep, I've seen dentists advertizing flu clinics! No thank you!

    I think that if a community's qualified medical officials are advocating a plan that encourages citizens to obtain the flu and H1N1 vacines then it would be appropriate for an employer to encourage employees to follow the advice of medical experts. However, it would not be appropriate for an employer to just start encouraging employees to obtain medical services just because management wants to. What if the CEO wakes up and says "I think all the ladies should get breast implants".

    re Anthony: come on, that is just internet jibberish, rumors and nonesense. It's scientifically impossible to get sick from the flu vaccine, the virus is dead. If someone gets sick after getting the flu shot, it's because they were already exposed before they got the shot and the two events have nothing to do with eachother.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  3. Lisa Bee

    Absolutely NOT. This is NOT a communist country no matter how much some congress members would like to force it to be. As a matter of fact many people are very angry at even the suggestion of such FORCED health care. Just insures that many people will fight against a Public Option BS plan...

    October 6, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  4. jamie bryant

    absolutely not. going to work is no different than going to the grocery store, school, or football game with your friends... and nobody's going to make sure everyone at the grocery store gets a vaccine are they? if you want my honest opinion, this vaccine and this virus is nothing more than a scare tactic to take our attention off the raging white collar financial crime.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  5. Spring

    My last flu shot was in 1998, when I was required to by the military. I have not had a flu shot since then, nor would I get a flu shot now. I have not had the flu since 1998. When I have gotten flu shots, I have gotten violently sick.

    I don't believe officials that say the flu shot won't give you the flu, as everyone I've known who have gotten a flu shot, have gotten very sick immediately after receiving the shot. The healthy ones who have never gotten the flu were ones that refuse to get the flu shot.

    I will battle with my employer if they try to make it mandatory to get a flu shot.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  6. Bill

    Yes, I would get the shot if my employer asked me to. No, I would not get the shot if my employer made me. Call me a libertarian if you want.

    – Bill, Arlington, VA

    October 6, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  7. Spring

    I forgot to add in my last post, I will also refuse to get the H1N1 vaccine. Considering there have been no studies done regarding this vaccine for the long term, I will not get this.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  8. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Im going to wait until November to get mine theres no way I would let somebody force me into it as far as I know this is still a free country.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  9. Theresa Garcia

    I personally would have no problem getting the flu shot if my employer "required" it , I get them annually and if it saved time going to the Dr.'s offices than whats the big deal. Though its not like the military where they are basically "told" what they will be getting so there is no choice involved. I'm also assuming that there is a choice there at your work place but in most cases doesn't everyone get the flu shot now anyway? Or is this a matter of I don't want my job telling me what I should be getting ? I have worked in the healthcare system before & had to have my TB skin test every 6 months that was mandatory so whats the difference with the flu shots? I say just get it & save all of us from getting the flu from your sneeze...

    October 6, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  10. Day

    No way. I have read that the vaccine has mercury in it. Mercury is a leading cause of Neurological problems (example Autism). I would say that is part of the reason for the Medical field employees protest.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  11. Danny

    The reason that we no longer hear about Polio is because we had a mandatory policy that everyone should get one. Did we ended up an communist country as a result? Stop this "government control" nonsense! Control yourself and think for once.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  12. Rita

    This is not just a hypothetical question for healthcare workers here in New York. We are faced with the deadline of November 30 to get the flu shot and an as yet undetermined deadline for the H1N1 flu shot when it becomes available. We have been told that this is a "condition of employment" like the other vaccines we are required to get before working (i.e. MMR, TB and Hepatitis B). I am a Registered Nurse and I do not get flu vaccines but now I am faced with either submitting to this new law or losing my income and health insurance that supports me and my four children.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  13. James

    Everyone talks about prevention medicine is a way to go. Vaccine is the biggest thing there is. This will help keep the healthcare cost down since less people will end up at the ER. Get the vaccine to protect yourself and love ones, not because Uncle Sam told you to do so.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  14. Ann Lunedei

    Good Morning, I just saw the end of your talk with Dr. Gupta and I am a little off topic. I would like to know what the Dr. thinks of the mercury, aluminum and squalene put in the the swine flu vacine, especially their effect on children. Personally I am more worried about the vacine than the flu (eventho I am very worried about the flu). My twelve year old son has a brain tumor and we will not be getting the vacine. I think more discussions should be on vitamins, supplements and food to strenghten the immune system to keep from getting the flu. Also, I think ALL THE INFORMATION on the flu and the vacine ingredients should be out there so people can make up there minds . Thank you

    October 6, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  15. Mike Armstrong TX.

    It looks to me that people dont trust the CDC very much its like trying to trust Dr. Frankinstien.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  16. Marcus

    Yes, because I would not want to get sick, nor would I want to be the cause of something spreading that could be preventable. I think since it is a public health issue and more of a preventative measure companies could cover the cost of it if they want it to happen. Why should I be forced to pay for something that is really elective? Some people do not agree with vaccines, so you cannot force them to do it or pay for it. Twenty-five dollars does not seem like a lot to most, but when hours are being cut and layoffs eminent it is one more thing that people cannot do on their own right now.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  17. Donna

    I think it is interesting that we could be "required" to have a vaccine for "our own safety and for the safety of others" but no one is requiring people to quit smoking which we know it costs our country billions of dollars every year in chronic disease. It is still about personal choice about personal risks!

    October 6, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  18. JOHN RINALDI (JohnnyHand)

    I got a flu shot last november at my job, the post office, and in March, I thought I had the flu, but it was pnuemonia. Go Figure!

    October 6, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  19. Stephen Wausau, WI

    We have already had the discussion here in the workplace and among all the employees, we all concluded it is a personal choice, not a employer mandate. One person who gets sick from flu shots, has said that if it is a "employer mandate" and she gets the shot, then she will sue the employer for 20 million dollars. Think about it, 50 sick employees, 50 X 20 million dollars in law suits.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  20. R Poutra

    Of course I would.

    This is America and if you like getting a pay check and not sleeping on the street, you do what you're told and keep your mouth shut.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  21. James C. Harwood

    I am one of those rare people who normally do not get colds or flu. My white blood cells are in good condition. I only have a problem with red blood cells – iron absorption anemia. The only time I got sick with flu symptoms were the years when friends talked me into getting a flu shot, concerned I could get sick and die, because those years it was predicted to be worse then ever before. Scare tactics. The years I got them, I got sick. The years I didn't get them, I remained well – as far as flu is concerned. I still got a mild throat infection every February 14 but I can't imagine what would cause that! Anyway, employer or government, I would refuse to get one. I would be more concerned about exposure while out shopping at grocery stores or major stores like Walmart on a weekend when packed with caughing sneezing people. I am a science fiction author living in Norman Oklahoma.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  22. Nurse Nancy

    NO WAY!!! The Preservative and neurotoxin, thimerosol is a mercury based ingredient. Then there is chicken protein that I can't go near due to sensitivity to chickens . The shot also gives you a good dose of aluminum which is great if you like Alzheimer's disease. THINK ABOUT it very carefully before you roll up your sleeve.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  23. Patricia johnson

    I work for a large medical center in Seattle and it is a requirement of employment by my employer to receive an annual flu vaccination. This has been a requirement for several years now. There are medical and religious exceptions. However, precaution measures are in place for those who are unable to receive the vaccination.

    This is a requirement that I and my colleagues are on board with. As an employee of a health care organization it is imperative that we not only take care of our patients but also protect our patients who are often the most vulnerable. Our patients are our first and foremost top priority. It is our duty to ensure they are protected from any possibility of a team member unknowingly passing the virus to a patient or any other team member.

    October 6, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  24. j

    I've read terrible rumors on this blog about flu shots. I'm beginning to think those spreading incorrect rumors really would like to have our U.S. population get sick. Ofcourse, there's also a political agenda to consider too..Others trying to make people scared of our current Government. How immature people! Lies are Lies. There are no Lions and Tigers and Bears out to get you!

    I've gotten the flu shot myself. Guess what. I'm absolutely fine! No side effects. No Alzheimers. No Mercury poisoning. If you don't want to get a flu shot, then don't get one. But stop blaming other people for your bad choices. Our Government has nothing to do with you getting sick. Only your poor decision to not get a flu shot.

    October 6, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  25. Mrs. Eileen G. Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    Yes, the condition of influenza viruses spreads from person to person, through coughs and sneezes. People can also pass the virus before they even know they are infected but now they are using the workplace as a watchdog. Although the workplace is a breeding ground for the exchange of germs and viruses it will be horrible to use the workplace to force citizens. It will be helpful to have employers offering free flu shots at work. Where are the assurances? Not every person has the same reaction after a vaccine or a flu shot. Will the workplace will support or fire employees after an absence? What is the company going to do to provide the proper support?

    October 6, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  26. TD


    It depends on my job and medical condition. If I am a health care worker, work with the elderly, and/or work with children – yes.

    If I have a job that I don't have very much contact with the public and/or my co-workers and I have some medical concern about the shot, I may elect not to take the shot.


    October 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  27. Bear

    No no no ... they don't pay enough.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  28. Laura

    First I would need an employer...but I'll play along. Hypothetically, if I had a job, and he/she asked me to get a swine flu shot, I would. I am not afraid it will make me sick, afraid of needles, or so lazy as to not go out of my way to do something for someone. Also, I see the benefits of it through my employer's eyes, and I would not want to get sick b/c another employee didn't get it.

    October 6, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  29. Elinora Mantovani

    I can't think why I would refuse, particularly if the company was paying! I've gotten the flu shot for years, and have never had a bad reaction. I trust that over the years when I've gotten sick, it's been a far milder episode than it might have been without the shot. Maybe that's not the case, but there's no downside for me.

    October 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  30. David

    Dear Heidi,

    Since in the workplace we're often in close quarters with our co-workers, I think it's a good idea to take up an employer on the offer of a flu shot, be that a regular flu shot, or an H1N1 vaccination. This helps to protect co-workers who might be especially vulnerable to the flu and their families. That's how I feel. I would like to hear more about possible side effects of the H1N1 shot. Could you please talk more about how researchers and developers of the vaccines have satisfied themselves that they are safe? Or have they?

    I am for staying with the country of Afghanistan, giving the Afghan government the assistance it needs to get on it's feet. It seems to me that country and its people are fully capable of reestablishing it's national life. But when I see the reports of those anti-war protestors, it occurs to me that maybe the only way to get our government to start putting energy into more peaceful ways of assuring security in that country is to stand up and say "no more fighting." For instance, there doesn't appear to be much discussion of bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. That is, I'm sure, part of the strategy, I think there have been some meetings, but it doesn't seem to come up as much as maybe it should. Maybe this is should be more central part of the approach.

    Thank your for a very thoughtful newscast, sensitive and looking at circumstances around the world.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  31. Mary

    NO – and we actually have a clinic that will send personnel over to give us the shot, but I have never had a flu shot and will not start now after the rush the company was to get this new shot or mist out – what are the side effects? will it work? Knock on wood I haven't had the flu and since I don't have any little ones that can bring it home why start now!

    October 6, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  32. Raphaël

    bad idea, you could never know what's really injected into your veins..

    October 7, 2009 at 6:47 am |
  33. Keiara Washington

    No, I would not get a Flu shot if it was required. Required? Medical attention is a personal choice. Years ago, I probably couldn't have received the vaccine if I wanted; now, irionically, it could be required. Many doctors have even suggested that by getting a Flu shot, the virus is introduced to the body. I have not received a Flu vaccine since I was in middle school: I have never had the Flu.

    October 8, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  34. Julianne

    People need to get their head out of their you know where and stop with the old mentalities that the flu shot makes you sick. It is only fair to everyone that works in close quarters or actually interacts with others not to spread the flu. They can it spread to some one that doesn't know they have an underlying condition and they can die. It is a simple way to stay healthy for yourself, family and community.

    October 8, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  35. marsh

    it up to you dont let government or employeer force u to–even if u work around other people-when u have a cold you work around people whats the can die from anything –all comes back to money...if you sell million of this stuff billions are been made–FOLLOW THE MONEY..............

    October 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  36. Kristy

    I got the flu shot once. A few weeks later I got the flu, then walking pneumonia, then a severe case of pneumonia. I was put to bed rest and if the medications didn't work I would've been hospitalized.

    Since this whole H1N1 thing I asked my doctor if he was getting the vaccine, and he said no! He said the side effects are more likely to kill you than the vaccine itself. He also said that 70% of doctors don't get the vaccine.

    I have fibromyalgia and will mostly likely end up getting the flu, but my doctor said that I'm better off getting the flu than trying to live with the side effects.

    October 13, 2009 at 12:33 am |
  37. Green girl

    I am 47 years old and have never gotten the flu as an adult. I have never been injected with a flu shot and don't plan on getting the shot. There are chemicals and toxins in the flu shot itself.

    Educate yourself on boosting your immune system with organic, healthy foods, vitamins, herbs this winter and fall. Get off the couch and away from the television. Stop depending on these pharmaceutical companies to keep you well with injections/drugs. The power to be healthy relies on you and how badly you want it. Americans must take their health into their own hands and stop relying on prescriptions to "fix" your health due to your poor diet and exercise program.

    October 13, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  38. Dholt

    No, Not only can you get sick, I do every time. 14 days after getting the flu shot I will develope flu "like" symptoms. Seven years straight this happened to me while I was in the military. I finally refused to have another shot and I was threatened with a dishonorable discharge. I eventually made a deal with CO, that if he would sign a waiver to not get the flu shot and I got the flu I would never complain about it again. I have never had a flu shot since and do not plan to. I hear/read that everyone shoud get the shot. I believe that everyone reacts differently to all medicines and medical procedures. For example I have allergies and when I take a 12 hour antihistamine It work for 3 days for me. Makes it cheap for me but my sensitivity to medications makes me nervous about what I put into my body. I also have been told that caffeine helps to reduce migraines – it is my trigger!!

    Not everyone is the same but yet our doctors use the assembly line approach in medicine.

    D. Holt

    October 14, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  39. Willie

    As unitary human beings with capabilities of deliberate actions, we should be empowered to make the decisions and take actions by intensifying information campaigns regarding pros and cons of these viral vaccines. The failure of this particular preventative drive could be reflected on the lack of knowledge and therefore awareness on the very person(s) who would benefit from it. Some establishments (like what happened in NY) would force the issue by making it mandatory. Although this "power over" may be "good" for the majority, would it not be parsimonious if they do "power with" or "power to" with their constituents?

    October 15, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  40. linda warnke

    In response to the question of mandatory flu shots for health care workers, let me ask you a question.
    Should health care workers be mandated to become organ donors as a condition of employment? Keep in mind, there are NO medical reasons not to donate organs after death, the only reasons are personal or religious. If the powers-that-be get away with mandating vaccinations as a condition of employment, for the "greater good", why stop there? If "Little Billy" needs a liver, why should "Nurse Edna" be allowed to take her's to the grave?
    Where does it stop? New York's policy MUST be defeated! Not because I want to see people die from the flu, but because there is a much larger issue here...We are on the event horizon of a very slippery slope, one that will have ramifications for years to come!

    October 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  41. Dawn

    I never had the flu and will never take any of these vaccines! I am self employed and will never work for anyone so I can not imagine being "asked" or required to do anything medically related to keep a job! For all of you who say you may catch something from those of us who refuse vaccines you have germs just as we do your "human" living breathing in the same air and remember vaccines are not 100% and never will be how about putting your trust in God not vaccines! Oh yeah and eat healthier it works!

    October 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm |