Does Your Caregiver Refuse To Get A Flu Shot?

What are your options when your caregiver does not want to get a flu shot?


Question: My child is seven months old. I asked my caregiver to get a flu shot and she said she has never gotten one and does not plan to get one. What do I do?

Answer: This can be a sticky situation for parents. We all want to keep our children healthy. Encouraging all caregivers to get the flu shot is responsible parenting. However, choosing whether or not to get a flu shot is a personal choice. If a flu shot is something you require of your caregiver, this matter should be discussed during interviews as a condition of employment.

Unfortunately, many parents do not think of it until it's flu season and by then have already been working with a caregiver for a few months.

Here are some tips on how to handle this situation.

Have an open and honest conversation

Ask her what her reasoning is behind her decision not to get a flu shot. Has she heard that the flu shot will cause her to get the flu? Does she have a medical or personal reason for refusing the flu shot? Depending on your caregiver's culture or background, she may be unfamiliar with the flu shot or may have certain beliefs about Western medicine. Try to see her point of view before jumping to any conclusions or making any abrupt decisions.

Know the facts

The Center for Disease Control reports that children younger than 5 years of age are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to flu complications each year in the United States.

Learn more about who should get flu shots from Flu Shot 101.

Discuss causes and prevention

Make sure your caregiver is aware how the flu spreads and how to prevent catching it. If someone coughs on their hands and then they touch a doorknob, the germs are on the doorknob and will spread. The flu usually gets into your body through your nose and eyes and happens when you rub them.

 When you cough or sneeze the germs can get into the air and babies can breathe it in.

Hand washing and using hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the flu. Keeping your hands away from your face is a big way to prevent getting the germs, but is also very hard for little children. When you’re in a crowd try not to rub your eyes and nose and encourage kids not to either. Covering your mouth and making sure everyone in your home washes their hands frequently can help prevent the spreading of germs. Throw tissues away after use and wash hands after touching used tissues. 

Decide if refusing to get a flu shot is a deal breaker

If you feel very strongly about your caregiver getting a flu shot and he/she simply refuses, you may need to re-evaluate your caregiver situation and find someone who shares the same beliefs as you. It is important that you feel confident and secure in the person you choose to take care of your child(ren) so if your caregiver's refusal of the flu shot does not sit well with you, don't ignore it. Make the best decision for you and your family this flu season. 

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