October 29th, 2013

Flu Shots

By Barbara Kline   0 Comments

October means the arrival of fall filled with colorful leaves, carved pumpkins, and one of our favorite holidays: Halloween. On a less fun note, fall is also the season for the arrival of the flu. When we interview prospective nannies in person, we always ask if they have gotten their flu shots. If they haven’t had them, we then ask if they are willing to do so if a family requests or requires it. In our experience, more and more caregivers are willing to get flu shots and there is no shortage of places for them to go to be inoculated. There are, however, still cases of nannies who are nervous about getting any shot.  Either they have had bad reactions in the past or they are simply afraid of having a bad reaction.

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic had to say about who shouldn’t get flu shots:

  • You’re allergic to eggs. Some flu vaccines contain tiny amounts of egg proteins. If you have an egg allergy or sensitivity, you’ll likely be able to receive a flu vaccine — but you might need to take special precautions, such as waiting in the doctor’s office for at least 30 minutes after vaccination in case of a reaction. There’s also a flu vaccine that doesn’t contain egg proteins, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for use in people age 18 and older. Consult your doctor about your options.
  • You had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine. The flu vaccine isn’t recommended for anyone who had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine. Check with your doctor first, though. Some reactions might not be related to the vaccine.

 

They go on to explain why it is important to be vaccinated every year:

  • New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses.
  • After vaccination, your immune system produces antibodies that will protect you from the vaccine viruses. In general, though, antibody levels start to decline over time — another reason to get a flu shot every year.

 

This brings us to our next issue: Who should pay for the shot if the family requires it for the job? It has been our position that if the family requires the shot, then they should offer to pay for it.  If someone refuses to get the shot based on religious beliefs, they cannot be required to get the shot. This puts parents in a difficult position since religious beliefs are a protected category under state and federal law. The big take away here is that  the issue of flu shots needs to be discussed before a hire is completed, especially if a family is requiring the nanny to have one.

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