Coworkers refuse to get flu shot, worried it puts me at risk

I work in a very close-quarters and VERY open office space with about 8 anti-vaxxers. They all refuse to get the flu shot because they’re “young and healthy” and we live in southern california where “people don’t get the flu.” I’ve gotten very sick from coworkers before and I’m worried this puts me at risk, even though I just got my flu shot last week. Have any of you ever had this problem, and did you find a solution?


Worrying is not going to help. Some people literally worry themselves to death. If you really think these co-workers are seriously detrimental to your health, you need to get a job somewhere else as you know that you are not about to change their behavior to suit you.

You will always be at risk from people around you, especially if you have children or grand children that are routinely around other sick children. Then there are always buses, airplanes, malls, restaurants and a host of other places where you will be exposed as well. Over the years, I have noticed that individuals that tend to spend the most amount of time and effort staying away from everything that may deteriorate their health end up being the most unhealthy people around. Possibly they actually damage their immune system by staying so “clean” that when they are exposed to an unhealthy situation they are the first to catch it due to the vulnerability of their system.

I may be a little lackadaisical on this issue from not only being around several grand children, but also frequently travel the world where conditions are not nearly as sterile as the US and I don’t get sick. My vaccinations are always up to date and frequently wash hands which I believe are the best way to stay protected.


I’m a believer in the “herd immunity” thing, which says that part of the point is to keep diseases from spreading and not just protecting vaccinated individuals. But that said, I think as long as your vaccination is up to date you should be protected, at least against whatever strain this year’s vaccination is targeted against. Of course it won’t protect you from other viruses your coworkers might be carrying, but that would be the case even if they had gotten this year’s vax.

FWIW, I think they’re idiots not to get it, but that’s their choice I guess.


If your flu shot covers this year’s flu types, you should be protected regardless of what happens to your clueless co-workers.


What others said about the fact that you should be protected from the flu. That said, wash your hands properly regularly (so many people do not use proper hand-washing techniques!), use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and bleach-based surface cleaners, and try to avoid touching your eyes and mouth. The hand-washing and bleach are the only way to kill norovirus, which is a bigger threat to diabetics in many respects than flu, so these are good precautions regardless of flu vaccination status.


I think the people who avoid the flu shot are not anywhere near your biggest threat from contagious viruses. I prefer to concentrate on the things that I control.

The health of your own immune system, however, does deserve your attention. I think if we could actually see all the viruses that our immune system defeats, we would be frightfully distracted.

Instead, I would concentrate on getting adequate sleep every night, staying hydrated, and getting good nutrition. A daily contemplative habit, whether it be meditative, prayerful, or deliberate practice of healthy breathing would also boost your immune system.

As others have said, we are exposed to so many contagious people everyday. No need to fixate on your coworkers. They have their own values and making it a point of contention will simply raise stress at work.


I’ve been at ground zero of a very bad norovirus outbreak and not gotten sick. I think a big reason for it was that I frequently wash my hands (including using the paper towel to turn off the tap when I’m done) and wipe down surfaces before touching them. I always clean my hands before eating (with a wet wipe if I don’t have access to a sink) and rarely eat food I haven’t prepared myself. I do it because of my food allergies, but I think it plays a big part in protecting me from germs. I haven’t had anything more severe than a cold in decades, despite using public transit daily, frequently working in schools, and travelling by plane fairly often. (I do get the flu shot as well.)

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I have not gotten a flu shot since I was a kid and knock on wood I haven’t had the flu ever since I can remember. I was very exposed to lots of people being sick around me every year . Much more than “normal” exposure.

First the flu shot does not protect you from every kind of influenza out there, it is decided each year what is going to be the most common strains that year to put into the flu shot. If people still get the flu after they have had a flu shot, the odds are it’s a strain not in that flu shot in the first place. Second, if you get the shot, you are protected from those strains so what difference does it make whether other people around you are protected from the same strains?

By the way, they know any virus or bacteria can travel up to 80 feet, so it means any store, restaurant etc you go into you are exposed unknowingly. Bacteria, viruses can live 3 days on objects. It is suspected viruses can live even longer in the proper environments.

Hand washing, not touching your eyes, nose are some of the best preventatives.


I got the shot last week. Caught a moderate cold this week. Seems to be the pattern. My endo says to get it because if I do get the flu it will be less severe. Last year I got the shot in February. I know a lot of folks who do not get it. The clerks at CVS are really selling it.

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I saw my Mother get deathly ill from a flu shot 30 years ago at least - you would need two swat teams to give me a flu shot -

I have never got the flu

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Tony, FYI, I used to get sick from the MANDATORY flu shots when I was in the military, BUT those were LIVE vaccines back then. For a very long time now, the vaccines are inactive forms of the virus. And nasal sprays are attenuated instead of inactive. Don’t become an antivaxer because of years-past issues which caused rare problems.


I had the flu twice; once in eighth grade, and once in college. I was so sick in college that my roommate called the house mother, who called the ambulance, who took me to the infirmary, where I regained consciousness not knowing where the heck I was, and where I remained for two solid weeks. And I wasn’t diabetic then. You can bet I get a flu shot every year now!



The Flu should be the least of your concerns.

Get your FLU shot and go on HIGH alert to protect against infection.

You might even consider looking for new employment where there are fewer poorly informed employees.

I am not an anti-vaxer - I just don’t get the flu shot - my wife is the T1 - she gets the shot every year

I’m confused. If someone doesn’t like to get vaccines, how are they not an anti-vaxer? Maybe you’d more prefer to be thought of as a partial anti-vaxer, then? :slight_smile: It doesn’t sound like you are pro-vaccinations. After all, a flu “shot” is a “vaccination”.

Hmmm, I would say there are some people that just don’t like a flu shot, but they aren’t anti vaxxers as they will get the childhood inoculations and aren’t against them.

I think it’s fair to say you don’t have to be an antivaxxer if you just don’t want certain shots for yourself.


The OP mentioned anti-vaxxers.

I was not attempting to label any participants in this thread.

I actually know many people who claim the flu shot made them ill. I have not felt ill after the shot.

I figure the more who get the shot the lower the risk of getting the flu.

So lets not waste our time arguing about a personal preference. With or without a shot washing hands and being more diligent about infection control REDUCES THE RISK of flu as well.

Anti-vaxxers are not the problem.

BUT anti-vaxxers who spread misinformation ARE!

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I don’t think “anti-vaxxer” is any different of a description than “blonde”, “white”, “conservative”, “african american”, “cowboy”, “catholic”,“vegan”, “vegetarian”. I fail to see why people get upset with the term “anti-vaxxer” as if it is a slur. Let’s not be so triggered by a word! It is simply a word to describe one’s viewpoint towards vaccinations. We aren’t accusing someone of being a pervert or criminal, for gawd sakes!

LOL, @Tony24 just doesn’t want the flu shot and describes himself as not an anti-vaxxer, because he just doesn’t want a flu shot. I agreed because there are quite a few people that just don’t want a flu shot but they aren’t against vaccines in general.

Anti-Vaxxers, lol are people like me who won’t get any vaccine nowadays. And I am not offended to be called a anti-vaxxer! Although if ebola hit the US, I would get the vaccine for it. So maybe not a 100% anti-vaxxer.

Thank you! For the life of me I don’t know why some people are triggered by the term. I had a post deleted for using the term, a few weeks ago. I argued my point to the mods, to no avail. Very strange.

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