H1N1 Vaccination?

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When news came out that the government would be offering the H1N1 vaccination at my child’s school, my first reaction was: great, where do we sign up? But, now I’m a little on the fence.

News reports are saying a third of parents oppose the H1N1 vaccination. Reasons are because people think the vaccine was put together too quickly and hasn’t been adequately tested, or they think giving their child the regular flu shot should be good enough.

I’ve always followed our pediatrician’s advice, making sure our kids get their recommended vaccinations and get the seasonal flu shot each year. But, all this hearsay going around about the H1N1 vaccination has left me perplexed.

My gut tells me to go with what my pediatrician recommends: get the H1N1 vaccination. But, I’m curious, what are you planning to do?

Cara

Cara Reeves is a co-founder emerita of Working Moms Against Guilt. While she doesn't contribute to WMAG currently, she'll always be our girl. She now works as a freelance copywriter with 10 years of advertising experience. Cara specializes in developing creative concepts and writing killer copy for the web, social media campaigns, print, video, broadcast, as well as articles too. Visit her website for more information: www.CaraReeves.com

24 Comments

  1. My kids will get it as soon as it is available. We're traveling internationally twice before January and I don't want to take any chances with a flu virus that is especially harsh on the young.

    The vax was no more "rushed to market" than any flu vaccination. It is the same formulation, with a different viral strain inside.

  2. Our pediatrician also recommended it for my 3-year-old daughter because of our 2-month-old baby boy who is too young for a flu shot.
    My husband and I have had our seasonal flu shot (my daughter hasn't because they are out at her pediatrician's office) but I am like you – kind of confused and wondering.

    The pediatrician did suggest the H1N1 shot for all of us, but I am just as concerned as well and have not made a final decision yet.

  3. I signed the Hamilton County HEalth form to allow my kids to get this vaccine. I looked it up last week while I was helping my Dad recover from Hip replacement surgery. We don;t typically get the annual flu vaccine. My kids and I are healthy and rarely get more than a cold and a sinus infection. But they way this virus is affecting youngesters… Yes it came out fast, but I read that the manufacturing process is the the exact same process they use for the annual flu vaccine, they just put the H1N1 Virus in it. There is Thimerisol in the multi-dose vial according to Dr. Sear's website, so if I could, I'd ask for a single does vial, but I doubt that will happen at the school clinic.

    My kids never had a bad reaction to their childhood vaccines, so I beleive the risk of adverse side affects are low. And with the approximately 4% death rate among children, I decided I'd ratehr take the risk of the vaccine than the actual H1N1 virus.

  4. I literally just Tweeted (Twittered..wth) about this very thing. My daughter's elementary school has partnered with the local health dept and sent home permission slips. We were in our pediatrician's office yesterday with the 4-year-old and I asked him about it and he said definitely do it. Somehow just hearing him say that made me feel better. I did opt for the shot and not the mist, though, for her.

  5. I'm in the military so it's not optional for me, but since I'm also pregnant they strongly encourage my whole family to get it so we will. I've read up on the studies and haven't read anything I didn't like. It sounds more painful to go through it then get the shot and risk a small side effect. I like to compare risk versus gain, I gain a lot by not ending up in the hospital (I'm also pregant) and risk very little.

  6. I was a little worried too, and researched as much as possible. I read the op-ed piece by Paul A. Offit in the Times, called a pediatrician friend whom I really trust, looked on websites and blogs. I was looking to find the credentials and backgrounds of those who took strong positions on either side. End result – we will definitely get my 4 yr old vaccinated. There has already been one case of H1N1 at her school, and the risks associated with the virus are higher than those associated with the vaccine.

  7. I think they have not done enough testing. I think they are pushing this too hard, for the mildness of the cases at hand, and it makes me wonder why?

    Statistics show that 99% of all flu cases tested right now are H1N1, and those are not just hospitalized, they are the ones that get tested because they are sick enough to need to see a doctor. The current symptoms are appearing to be less severe than the seasonal flu.

    We have already been exposed by everything we have done (three trips across the country in the last two months alone with a toddler – and we have not been sick) or just by going to the grocery store, that I think the vaccine is ridiculous. It takes almost 60 days for the vaccine to build enough immunity to the virus, so you could get the shot, and have H1N1 a month later too! And you will NEVER be able to seek compensation for any damages done by an under-tested vaccine.

    Boost your immune system with Zinc, Vit. C, vit. D, plenty of water, less processed foods and plenty of sleep and your body will be better able to fight off the normal flu as well as the over-rated swine flu!

  8. Hmmm… that last post had a random "not" at the end of it. Let's try this again…

    I guess I'm a little puzzled that so many people are questioning how fast this came out. Can you imagine the uproar if the government didn't get something out fast and children started dying all over the country because no vaccine was available? I'll bet parents would be saying they would rather have taken the risk on something that came out faster than perhaps some people are accustomed to, rather than deal with the risk of their child getting fatally ill. In that situation, people would be demanding to know why the government didn't act faster.

    My entire family will get this vaccine as soon as they can.

  9. Great topic, Cara! I know lots of moms are wrestling with this question right now.

    Personally, I plan to get the H1N1 shot as soon as it's available, for me, Hubs and the kiddo (baby is too young). Read this op-ed piece in the New York Times by Paul A. Offit, the chief of the infectious diseases division of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It makes a strong case for why the vaccine is safe and dispels all the myths flying around right now.

  10. There are sick and vulnerable people who cannot receive the vaccine. These people (infants under 6 months, pregnant women in the wrong trimester, dialysis & chemo patients, and those with other chronic conditions) rely on herd immunity.

    This vaccine is developed in the same manner as the seasonal flu vaccine; it's no riskier than a standard vaccination.

    My son was nearly killed as a toddler by the common childhood illness rotavirus. He was born one month before the rotavirus vaccine was made widely available.

    I want to know that I've taken care of my children and my community, so YES we'll all be getting vaccinated.

  11. I will not be vaccinating my kids with the H1N1 vaccine. I don't look at those who are as being wrong.
    I think the media has taken the H1N1 flu and scared people with it. There are far more deaths with the "regular" flu that with H1N1. I am a nurse, and I know from experience that you can not always trust what is told you in health care. So think for yourselves.
    Most of us at the hospital (doctors included) are not getting the H1N1 vaccine.

  12. I am still on the fence. I think once it's made available to my kids I will consider. It's a tough decision. Thank you for opening up this discussion.

  13. I tend to trust the advice of my pediatrician – she's always given me well-balanced advice in the past, not just what she "should" say. So my 3-yr old got it.

    My bigger concern…they ran out of the regular flu vaccine! Apparently to get the H1N1 distributed faster, distribution of the regular flu vaccine slowed and doc offices started running out. We went for the regular flu shot and ended up with the H1N1 instead. Weird.

  14. I've gone back and forth on this for months but think I will follow my pediatricians recommendation to get it for my daughter. It's just a matter of when. She's under 2 so she can't have the mist so we have to wait for the shot, which according to the nurses at the doctor's office, they have NO idea when that will come in. It might not be for awhile so maybe the worst of all this will have already passed. If she stayed home with me, I might not do it. But she goes to a babysitter who has two kids in elementary school. I just can't risk it.

  15. I don't think we will get it. There are many reasons why. Here are a few. 🙂

    I've had the flu when I was a kid, people get the flu all the time. Last year, there were schools shut down b/c of the flu (not the pig kind) and no one was flocking to get vaccines. And my ped and everyone has always pushed the flu vaccine. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. But this H1N1 vaccine, I feel, has been too rushed. That's just my personal opinion. I'm not a huge fan of Western medicine that much anyway.

    I've seen some of the horrible conditions that have been a result of the Garadsil/cervical cancer vaccine, too, and I'd rather just not take something big pharma and big health is trying to shove down my throat.

    And like just4ofus, I also have doctor and nurse friends who aren't getting it, and I trust them.

    Who knows? I might change my mind later, (I reserve the right) but I doubt it.

  16. sorry – this is a long comment.

    We take risks of some kind any time we take a medicine, get a vaccine or make any kind of medical decision. Of course, we also take risks when we choose not to do those things. For me this issue comes down to the fact that we really don’t have enough information on either the vaccine or H1N1 to make an absolutely conclusive decision either way. We wouldn’t use an invasive and risky procedure (like chemo) to treat a relatively mild sickness, like a cold. However, I take a medicine with some serious potential side effects (which I theoretically am not at risk for and haven’t experienced) when I get migraines, because I otherwise I can be debilitated for up to 2 days. Someone with a higher pain threshold, or with other health issues, might choose not to take the risk, but either way, we feel we are pretty informed about our choice.
    I’ve tried hard to find information on H1N1 and the vaccine that includes research, names, numbers, and statistics so that I can make an informed decision. I’ve tried to look at good sources on both sides of the issue. I don’t have a medical background, so this is just what one relatively educated layperson thinks. If anyone has corrections or additions, I’d love to hear them.
    Here is what I wanted to know and what I found out:
    Is the vaccine safe? The flu vaccine is made the same way every year, with basically the same ingredients. Each year, though, the CDC identifies the influenza strains they think will be the most widespread, and they add three of those strains to the regular ingredients. The H1N1 vaccine has been made in the same way. When doctors say its safe, they mean that it is so close to the regular vaccine that there is a very high probability it will be as safe as the regular flu vaccine. When people say it is untested, this is also true: H1N1 is new to us. Probably it’s not risky, but no one could tell you that with 100% certainty. The Dr. Sears website contains a good analysis of this by a doctor who does not automatically support vaccines. He also provides a detailed summary of the other ingredients in the available vaccines:
    http://www.askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook/2009/09/four-swine-flu-vaccines-approved-by-fda.asp
    Is H1N1 a real threat? This is an important question, and, it seems to me, the basis of many people’s resistance to the vaccine. If H1N1 is pretty much like your basic flu, then why should a healthy person take even a minimal risk with a new vaccine? So far, this influenza seems relatively mild. If it stays mild, then it seems to me that skipping the vaccine is a reasonable decision. On the other side: this is a completely new influenza virus, and most people have little or no immunity to it. We do know that viruses mutate very quickly, so the severity of the flu may well change. There are some differences in H1N1 and regular flu: the pattern of transmission is faster, and more healthy young people are getting severely ill than is usual for regular flu (the CDC website has comparative graphs). These are still very small numbers, but we do not have any guarantee they will stay small. I don’t think we can take it for granted that H1N1 will not become a real threat.
    Is the vaccine effective? In the short term, it’s probably as effective as the regular flu vaccine. My primary concern is my daughter, and even flu vaccine skeptics seem to agree that children benefit from getting the regular vaccine. In the long term, there seems to be general agreement that previous exposure to H1N1 (either through the actual virus or through the vaccine) might well save your life if the flu mutated and came back in “Spanish flu” form. This is my concern, and the primary reason I will vaccinate. I wouldn’t tell anyone they should or should not get the vaccine, but I think everyone should find out as many details as they can and make their own decisions.

  17. I would absolutely do it. I work in the medical profession and plan to get it myself through work. My son is not old enough (has to be 6 mos) or I would get it for him. If you have younger babies – less than 6 mos I highly recommend you and your spouse get the vaccination to protect them.

  18. Thanks so much for posting about this and for all the good thought-provoking comments. We just received notice from our pediatrician that the vaccine is available at their office and we're wrestling with the decision,

  19. i figured i'd get it for my little beano b/c, as w/all vaccines, i'd feel bad if i didn't get it and he came down w/the disease. what bugs me is i called his ped the other day and they don't have it and don't know if/when they'll get it. so am i supposed to call every day and ask? will they let me know? where else can we turn? they didn't offer this info, so i guess i'll be calling them back.

    also like you, now that i've had all this time to think/hear about it, there is some lingering doubt. just heard a story on npr last night talking about how experts in the UK advise against inoculating healthy children. it is all so confusing. i have a cousin who contracted swine flu it earlier this year; i need talk with her and get her thoughts. she's a nurse on long island.

  20. "Fast tracked" vaccines = lots of dead/disabled people. The virus itself is entirely man made. It exhibits characteristics of all three of the world's most pandemic flues (swine, avian, and human.) The only way this can possibly happen is through genetic manipulation. Ask any pathologist.

    Do not take the vaccine!

    The manufacturers of the vaccine won't even take it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4SmFxyust0

    H1N1 vaccine forces quarantine of US Ships, kills Captain.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=01e_1254069825

    Here's the man who has done the homework. He has even given his research, in the form of an affidavit, to the FBI. The people behind H1N1 and it's vaccine are murderous criminals.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBeKB7aKzOs

    http://www.fluscam.com/Affidavit.html

  21. We won't be getting the vaccine, but that's because we got the actual virus before the vaccine was available. One of my nephews shared the virus with my little one who then shared it with me (if only we weren't such a lovey dovey family).

    The actual virus was no worse than any other flu I've contracted. I was achy, had a headache/fever and cough for three days and now have a lingering cough. My son and I were also considered "high risk" because he has a history of RSV and I have exercise induced asthma. We just used our nebulizer/inhaler and took TheraFlu.

    I think the whole thing is sensational journalism at its best.

    If people want to get it, that's totally their prerogative and I'm not going to judge them or try to scare them out of it. For us, the actual virus wasn't that bad, that's all I'm sayin…

  22. My cousin (he’s 16) got the mist and he has had uncontrollably nosebleeds ever since. He even had to be rushed to the emergency room because of the noseblee

  23. You should get the vaccination immediately. The disease kills the immune system so fast. Better safe than sorry.

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