First Time Mom Ends Friendship After Her Best Friend Lies About Getting The Flu Vaccine

Being a parent for the first time can be harrowing. You have so many things you need to consider. You’re busy thinking about how to keep your baby safe and protected, and you’re also hoping to have support from the people who matter most to you while doing so.

Recently, a first time mom revealed that she had ended a long-time friendship over the flu shot. It turns out her best friend told her she had received the flu vaccine this year … but then the mom found out her friend had been lying the whole time. When she uncovered the truth, her former friend still refused to get the shot.

The mom writes:

I just had my first baby, and I’ve been telling friends and family that if they want to meet my baby in their early months of life, they have to get their vaccinations. My best friend of a few years told me she got her vaccine, so I let her meet the baby. I found out after the fact that she lied about it. She did not get her vaccine. She claims that because she’s not sick, and she didn’t have to get one to meet her nephews, that my baby should be fine. But I feel like this was clearly important to me and I feel very violated. Would I be the [expletive] if I broke off a long standing friendship over this?

flu vaccine
She went on to add another note for anyone who mistakenly believed she was interested in holding a vaccine debate:

I did specify the flu vaccine to her, she agreed to get the flu vaccine, come to find out she lied and did not get the flu vaccine. This question is asking if I would be the [expletive] for severing a friendship over this. This isn’t a question whether or not you believe in vaccines.

friends walking outside
There’s a whole lot to unpack here! First of all, the new mom asked her friend to get a flu shot to help protect her newborn baby. From the mom’s perspective, this makes sense. The flu can be fatal, and during the 2018-2019 season, 34,200 people died from it. New babies are particularly vulnerable to infections of all kinds.

But from her friend’s perspective, it’s fair that she doesn’t want to get a shot for whatever reason. It’s her body. But she probably should have been upfront about this from the beginning, instead of lying to her friend.

mad woman looking at phone
Naturally, people had a lot of opinions. One person said the mom should cut the friend out entirely:

What sort of “friend” risks a [expletive] baby’s life? Selfish.

She can say she doesn’t get sick all she likes, that just shows she’s too ignorant to even consider that she could be an asymptomatic carrier, did she ever consider that with her brain that’s obviously so unable to think for itself or brainwashed that she doesn’t even think vaccines are needed. Jeez. Americans must be stressed to bits having to live in areas with people that are willing to risk other people’s lives because they’ve been brainwashed to believe that vaccinations are dangerous. I’m sorry you have to deal it’s that stress. Completely cut her out of your life.

baby sleeping in a bed
Another person pointed out that generally, a lot of adults can get the flu and be OK. Babies… not so much.

Flu vaccines aren’t a huge deal for healthy adults. It’s to protect those who’s immune systems aren’t very strong (elderly, infants, etc.) All pediatricians recommend that people who are going to be around an infant get their vaccines. The flu can, has, and does kill infants.

woman sick with the flu
Some people also thought this conundrum says a lot more about the health care system in the United States:

This is just me speculating, but I’m guessing it partially has to do with the work culture and generally bonkers healthcare system in the US. A lot of people here don’t have any (or very little) paid sick leave and really can’t just stay home to sleep it off the minute they feel an illness creeping up on them, or they may not be able to afford to go to the doctor until things get really bad. People here simply can’t afford to get sick and stay home, and instead go to work, school, whatever, and the cycle continues.

Flu shots help cut down on that, which is probably why employers often offer them for free.

One parent chimed in with personal experience with the flu:

My preemie (25 weeks) had the flu when he was in the NICU. It wasn’t a pretty sight. He was hooked up to a breathing machine that literally made his 1 1/2 pound body shake all day for several days. That flu could have easily killed him. He got the flu again when he was about a year and was hospitalized for dehydration.

I had never gotten the flu vaccine before, but after kids? I get it every year like clockwork.

patient getting the flu shot
And that point really drives home why some people do support the flu vaccine. Ideally, getting it helps protect people who may not have great immune systems. Like … babies.

But it’s not everyone’s thing, and that’s OK. Another commenter said that maybe the mom should focus on other ways to make sure her baby is OK:

Flu vaccines are a thing where I live and they never seem to catch the strain that is actually going around. OP should focus more on disinfecting, making people use hand sanitizers, and keeping the baby out of public spaces for the time being.

dad holding baby
And this mom is hardly the first who has asked others to get the flu shot. Of course, they don’t always do it, but being honest about whether or not they did is what makes the difference. One mom said she did the same thing.

When my son was born, I asked everyone to get the flu vaccine. I ended up having two family members who did not get it, but they were both honest with me about it. I allowed both to meet my baby. I would have been livid if I found out someone lied about it though.

two women laughing together
Others seemed to be hoping that the two friends could still fix their relationship, depending on how long the two have been friends. One commenter said:

Maybe just talk to her about how she broke your trust and maybe say that until she can prove that she is trustworthy again Go minimal contact. It depends how long the friendship has been.

mom kissing baby feet
Generally, it seems that a lot of people think the new mom is in the right here. As one mom put it, it can just be so scary when your kid gets sick.

I think you as the mother should have had your request listened to. If she isn’t vaccinated, she should have stayed away until you felt it was safe.

My older sister lived with me when I had my second baby. I told her she had to go get an updated Dtap to be in the home. She did. About a month later her son (who did not live with me, thank god) was diagnosed with pertussis. She had visited him but did not get sick because she’d gotten her vaccine. My baby could have died if she brought that home. Thank god she was great with getting vaccinated because my baby doesn’t deserve to go through pertussis symptoms. That would have been terrifying.

parent holding baby
At the end of the day, this dilemma is less about whether or not someone should get a flu shot and more about whether or not best friends should lie to one another. Most people definitely fall on the side that it’s not cool that the mom’s friend wasn’t upfront, especially when she knew the concern was about the new baby.

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