‘Counting On’ Vet Derick Dillard’s Advice to Get a Flu Shot Stirs Controversy

Flu season is here, and Counting On vet Derick Dillard is urging people to stay safe and get a flu shot. On Wednesday, he posted to Instagram about getting his shot and urged others to do the same. 

“Got my flu shot for the season! Go out and get yours if you haven’t yet, and try to stay healthy this year,” the 30-year-old law student wrote. His wife Jill Duggar didn’t post about whether she or their kids had gotten vaccinated, but she did like his post, which suggests she’s on board with the idea. 

Derick’s sensible suggestion 

Derick has stirred controversy with his social media posts in the past. In fact, it was his offensive posts about transgender teen and I Am Jazz star Jazz Jennings that caused him and his family to part ways with TLC. But in this case, the former reality TV star’s post seemed pretty sensible — and in line with doctor’s recommendations. 

The Centers for Disease Control urges most people to get a yearly flu shot to keep from getting sick. While you might think that coming down with the flu is just a good excuse to take a few days off of work or school, it’s no joke. Last year, 61,000 people in the U.S. died after getting the virus. More than 600,000 were hospitalized. 

Given those numbers, Derick’s suggestion that everyone get vaccinated seem like a no-brainer.  But not everyone thought so. 

Derick’s pro-flu shot stance was controversial

woman getting the flu shot
A woman receives a flu shot | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Not everyone was on board with Derick’s advice to get a flu vaccination (which is free through most insurance plans and available at low or no cost at many clinics and pharmacies). Anti-vaxxers flooded Derick’s post with comments arguing that vaccines were ineffective and even dangerous.  

“Please do your research. They’re pure poison,” wrote one person. 

“No flu shots here. Ever wonder why they are free? Please read the vaccine inserts and educate yourself in the poisons they are injecting into you,” commented someone else. 

Several other people linked to websites arguing against flu shots and other vaccinations. 

A few thought that eating healthy and taking supplements was enough to protect them from falling ill. “No thanks! If you take vitamins you will be just fine,” argued another person. 

Others simply believed the vaccine didn’t work — or could even make you sick. 

“No thanks! I haven’t gotten mine in 11 years & haven’t gotten the flu once. But I got the flu every year I did get the shot!” one replied. 

Why you should get a flu shot

sick woman in bed
A sick woman in bed | Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images

Vaccines have become controversial in recent years, with a growing number of people believing that shots to protect against illnesses like the flu, chickenpox, whooping cough, and measles do more harm than good, despite doctors’ assurances that vaccines are safe. Declining rates of vaccination have contributed to outbreaks of measles, even though the disease was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. In the case of the flu shot, worries about the safety of the vaccine combined with laziness and misconceptions about how it works means many adults never get vaccinated. 

It’s true that the flu vaccine may not prevent all strains of the flu going around in a given year. And it may be more effective for some people than others, notes the CDC. Nor does the flu shot prevent the common cold or other flu-like illness that aren’t caused by a flu virus. Nonetheless, getting vaccinated is still helpful, since it can reduce the chances of you getting sick and may mean your illness is less severe than it would be otherwise. It can also protect those around you who can’t get a flu shot, like babies and the elderly. 

“[M]illions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year,” notes the CDC. “An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu.”