Having a baby during flu season is a harrowing act. I know this because my own daughter was born in October seven years ago, and I can vividly recall what it was like to be that terrified mom with a fragile new life, just trying to protect her from the flu and pertussis and stomach bugs, oh my! That's exactly why one new mom has told her mother-in-law that she's not allowed to meet her new grandbaby until she gets a flu shot. But the outraged grandmother simply isn't having it—and she's even considered lying about getting vaccinated.
The grandma, who says she's a former nurse practitioner, wrote in to Slate's "Dear Prudence" column to ask how to get around the flu shot rule.
She said that the new arrival will be her first grandchild and she's thrilled to meet the baby, but she and her husband are staunchly anti-flu shot. "I am in a quandary," she wrote. "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."
The grandma's letter sparked a heated debate, with plenty of people calling her selfish and telling her to suck it up and get the shot.
Others were just mad that a former nurse practitioner would be so blatantly anti-science.
But not everyone came out against the grandmother. A few people said the parents and their supporters were being unreasonable.
Ultimately, it was another grandmother who got to the heart of the issue when she said a grandparent's job is to support their grandchild's parents.
Last year, an estimated 80,000 people died of complications from the flu and 180 of them were children. Of those kids who died, it's estimated that around 80 percent did not have the flu vaccine. For kids who are too young to get the shot, vaccinated loved ones are the only line of defense. If a grandparent doesn't want to get a flu shot, fine. But it is never OK for grandparents to undermine important decisions parents make about their babies' health.
This story was originally published on Mom.me sister site CafeMom.