Flu season is here and the debate on whether or not to get a flu shot is still going strong. However, for one doting grandmother, not getting the shot may result in her not being able to see her new grandchild once the baby born.

Tim Bish/Unsplash

In an effort to gain another perspective on the situation, the grandmother wrote about to Slate’s Dear Prudence column:

My son and his wife are expecting their first born, my first grandchild. We are all beyond excited. Here’s the hitch: I and my husband do not get or believe in flu shots, and have not for over a decade. I am a retired nurse practitioner, so am well-informed on the subject. The expectant mom’s mother says no one will be allowed around the  baby unless they have had their flu shot. I am in a quandary. I don’t want to lie and say my husband and I have gotten one when we haven’t. But I don’t want to be left out of this little one’s life because that side of the family thinks I am being unreasonable by not caving to have a shot I do not want. By the way, both my husband and I have had all our regular vaccines. What should I do?

Cafe Mom reports the post had mixed reviews on what the grandmother should do:

One person wrote that it’s not up to grandma to decide whether or not she wants to see the baby without a flu shot:

Um… just because you get a flu shot doesn’t mean you can’t still carry the flu virus to the kid. But bottom line, if you want to see the baby get the shot. Their kid, their rules.

Derek Thomson/Unsplash

Another person said even with the grandmother getting the shot, it is not guaranteed to protect the child from the virus:

The flu shot only protects you, not the child. You can still carry the flu virus with or without the shot. The shot is also not a guarantee you won’t get the flu. Many years the shot given does not protect against the strain going around.

Overall, a lot of people that read the story were riled up because of the fact that the grandmother is a former nurse. One person said with her medical background, she should know better:

Shameful that a fellow healthcare practioner would be anti-flu vaccine. No shot, no baby visit.
In an earlier report by Cafe Mom, of the 80,000 people that died last year from the flu, 180 of them were children. They also reported that 80 percent of them did not have the flu vaccine.
If you were in this situation what would you do? Would you get the shot and go against what you strongly believe, or would you take the shot and not miss the chance of seeing the new baby?

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33 Replies to “Grandma Isn’t Allowed to See New Grandchild Unless She Gets a Flu Shot — It Doesn’t Matter She’s Against It”

  • Rose Moody 2 years ago

    Get the shot. I think the grandparents are nuts but if they want to see the kid, bring a note showing they got the shot. Not their kid, not their rules.

  • Ruthanne S 2 years ago

    I would get the flu shot. If I want to see that baby.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    I’m appalled by these reviews. Shame on people for forcing these grandparents they have the right to decline and it’s absolutely shameful that they would be blackmailed if they don’t. Stand up for your rights and it may mean not seeing your grandchild at first.

    • Anonymous 2 years ago

      Yes they have the right to decline, and the babys parents have the same rights as well. Their baby their rules.

      • Anonymous 2 years ago

        As I read it, it isn’t the parents, it is the moms mother, grandmother to be on the other side. Does she really have the right to put those conditions on the other side of the family.

  • Liz 2 years ago

    Although I am really torn on the whole issue of “to vaccinate or not”, I am NOT torn on doing whatever it takes to be with the baby. Is it really more important than bonding with that child, as well as maintaining a relationship with your son and his wife? (Just curious, where do the baby’s parents stand on vaccinations for children?)

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    I agree with the grandparents on this issue!. Their children are not educated on how disease is contracted and spread. Yes, they have the right not to have their parents see their child, but I
    believe this is just the first symptom of alot of family dysfunction and heartache for these grandparents down the line!! I have to wonder if this is the first event is a sign for control and distancing themselves from these poor grandparents. Perhaps a sign of what is to come!..So Sorry for your family!

    • Anonymous 2 years ago

      Parents are thinking about welfare of THEIR child…so it’s their choice. Grandma has a choice…which is more important to her? Note: I can’t understand if she was in health care, why she would not get shot… didn’t she have to get one when working?

      • Crystal Grier 2 years ago

        1). It is not the parents, but the maternal grandmother 2) the grandparent getting or not getting the flu shot will not affect the child – going around the child sick will – therefore it is not about the welfare of the child 3) it would be different if the grandparents were refusing to get the small pox vaccination or the polio vaccine 4) it is way beyond the scope of the maternal grandparent to dictate what the paternal grandparents have to do before seeing the grandchild

  • Carol A Greenstone 2 years ago

    If it were the baby’s parents making the rule that would be one thing but it is the other grandmother who is making the rule. She probably already knows about their decision not to get flu shots and she wants to be the only grandma. I’d tell these people to talk to their son and his wife and explain their feelings and the benefits and risks of the flu shots. If they still insist on the flu shot I’d respect their wishes and plan my visit with the newborn after flu season is over. Poetic justice would be if the other grandmother comes down with a really bad cold when the baby is born and isn’t allowed to visit for a few weeks. Flu shots are no guarantee of good health.

  • Melder 2 years ago

    I do not get the flu shot. Every time I get it I get the flu. Seems like the other grand mother is pulling a power play and using the shot as an excuse to protect her territory. Talk to your son and daughter in law about this and use that as your guideline

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    I have 29 grandchildren. I was never banned from seeing my grandbabies because I didn’t have the flu shot. I have never gotten the flu shot and none of those babies got the flu from me or anything else in regard to Illness! However I have gotten the flu from them a couple of times and that’s all in many years!

    • Anonymous 2 years ago

      However, I guess if my kids insisted I get the flu shot, I probably would.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    depending on where you live their are GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS regardless of her daughter n laws rules is no one without the flu shot going to ever get around this child highly unlikely take it to court

    • Anonymous 2 years ago

      It’s not even her daughter in laws rule. It is her daughter in laws mother’s rule.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    okay they set these rules so why put up with their idiot rules. they will have some other excuse why you can’t see the baby. like you did not kiss someone ass let it go.

  • Es Guyer 2 years ago

    Don’t get the shots. You are responsible for your own health, and shooting yourself up with toxins doesn’t sound that smart when there is no proof that the flu shot actually works. You will be surprised how accommodating they will become when they need your help and much needed sleep. Everyone is an expert at being a parent until they become one.

    • Kerri Johnson 2 years ago

      Whoa there. The flu shot may not be 100% effective every year, but the fact that the pandemic that was the Spanish Flu in 1918 causing upwards of 100 million deaths has not been repeated since flu vaccine, speaks volumes about the vaccines effectiveness.

  • Chris Gallaway 2 years ago

    I would discuss with my kid and daughter in law….after all, this soon to be grandmother heard it from the other soon to be grandmother and not from the soon to be parents.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Did anyone notice that it is the expectant mom’s MOTHER that said no vaccine, no baby! Not the expectant mom. Her mother!

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Then I guess they shouldn’t take the baby out in public put it in a little bubble. I’m not sure you can get it from somebody in the store and the doctor’s office. I feel bad for the grandparents I for one is a grandparent and a great grandma and I do not get the shot I’m careful to wash my hands and wipe off the shopping cart. The kids are in school and daycare and they bring home everything

  • Lisa 2 years ago

    Can’t the grandparents use other precautions–like a face mask and wash before holding the baby–using antibacterial hand sanitizers—like they use in the hospitals—

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Get the shot!

  • Mary 2 years ago

    Took 2 Statistic classes as an undergraduate – (probably one of the few people left that can do them without a computer) – I loved Stats cause it was like a game – I could make them appear any way I wanted. That said – #1 – vaccines shed (your contagious after getting one) #2 – the flu mutates; so yep the one you get this year was for last years flu – #3 – many have nasty side effects from flu shot; including death. Personally – I’m not suicidal and I sure wouldn’t jeopardize my grandchild by giving them the flu through my shedding. But that’s me. I’m not a gambler…….

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    This happened to us, exactly like this! We did not get the shot, we chose to wait until it was “safe” to see the baby, but were never invited to see “it”. This was not the first instance of unreasonable control and it wouldn’t have been the last. The baby is going into toddlerhood and we have not been involved in its life. In our case this was never about the shots. BUT if you still think it’s about the shots, the baby gets it’s immunity from the mother, especially if she’s nursing. Plus we’re all adults and would never go around a newborn if we’re sick. It’s common sense. It’s not about the shots.

  • Cherie Bachman 2 years ago

    My daughter didn’t insist I get the flu shot. And I didn’t. But she did insist I get the whooping cough vaccine and I got it, paid $60 and didn’t even consider not getting it. So a discussion is a good idea, but the parents determine what they want when it comes to their baby. I wouldn’t trade one minute of being w my Grandson for not wanting a vaccine.

  • Lisa K 2 years ago

    I tried the flu shot and it made me deathly ill to include hospitalization for a week. I have refused to take it again. It has different effects upon different people. I understand the fear for new parents but common sense should prevail. Shot or no shot, never expose a newborn to any sick individual and take universal precautions to ensure the safety of the baby. With that said, blackmail should not be a part of the new love that is a new child. Parents have the right to decide what the rules are for their new human only. The flu is such a precarious disease and you really can’t be sure where or whom it will come from. Most important thing is to be safe for the child.

  • Dunne 2 years ago

    I too refused to get a flu shot. Since I never got the flu. But ….times have changed. A lot of old illnesses are coming back to the USA….my granddaughter and her husband also felt everyone should be up on their shots…..before you could see the baby as they don’t give the babies their shots for about four mgonths now….I was not going to let a little flu shot keep me from being with my first great grand baby….I got the shot..,I’m still the same, nothing changed and I get to see this adorable baby whenever I want….and even though I have never had a problem, with the shot I feel more protected myself….It really is a simple request and you can get them at almost any pharmacy or your Doctors office.
    Do it grandparents……

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Nurse here too. My husband was the babysitter 9 yrs. ago and he got his flu shot. My sister babysits her grandson and he’s turning one. She and her husband went got flu shots. Grew up in the military with 3 siblings, we had shots for everything. guess what, we are healthy in our late 50,s and 60,s, despite all those shots. Want to be in that baby’s life, get the flu shot,. It’s an easy decision

  • JM 2 years ago

    Very sad that a healthcare professional would be anti-vaccine…..guess this is an example of why I always prefer a PA to a nurse practitioner, they seem to be more informed and doctor-like than nurse practitioners.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    At 60 years of age I have all my required vaccinations but as a healthy individual I do not opt for an annual flu shot. I have read tons about it and as a health coach I meet hundreds of people who experience side effects, including hospitalization from the flu shot. The darn thing is not a superstar preventer of sickness as its marketing would have you think (science and law suits against it offer another view). My sons have chosen to use this current movement of Tdap and Flu shot marketing for a visiting grandmother- who lives 700 miles away by the way- who sees her children maybe once a year, as a power play. Because they can. They were raised to respect and be open to opinions and to engage in conversation but they simply throw their emails and rules at me, expecting me to jump in emotional blackmail line. I choose self-respect and self-care. I continue with my choice of passing on the flu shot for what would be a short newborn visit. I love them dearly and will miss not being in my grand babies life and will continue to love and support from afar through letters, cards, gifts and prayers. To soften the loss, I make a commitment and gift to sponsoring a child in poverty for every grand baby that I am blessed with. The letters and photos we share are sweet and fulfilling – no flu shot required.

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