On Flu Shots

I am kind of cringing as I write this, because the last thing I want to do is open a big can of worms again.  But…

I am really, truly seeking out opinions about the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine.  I’m willing to open a can of worms if I think it’s going to lead to fruitful discussion.

Here’s the poll I started a couple of days ago…if you haven’t voted yet, feel free to join in!

From the outset, I’ve been against getting the kids or myself vaccinated against swine flu.  My primary reason is that I don’t trust a new vaccine that hasn’t been tested for an extended period of time.  I mean, they are literally trying this out on a group of people as I write this, and presumably they’ll be ready to roll this out to the general population in several weeks (including distributing it in schools, which I will not agree to for sure).

Also, I don’t get the kids the regular annual flu vaccines, because I don’t like that we’re vaccinating against what is predicted to be the three most prevalent strains.  We did them in the past when my mom was on chemo as an added precaution, but with no other risk factors for my own children or our family members, we won’t be getting it. I realize the severity of illness and the mortality risk associated with the flu, but I just have trouble vaccinating when it’s based on a prediction.

So when I posted this poll a couple of days ago, I was the first to vote this time, and I checked “no, none of us.”

And then I read this article.  It outlines the CDC’s report on children who have died of swine flu, and how they’re generally older than normal flu victims. Here’s an excerpt.

More than 40 U.S. children have died from the virus since it was first identified in this country in April. The report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention takes a comprehensive look at the first 36 deaths, and found some important differences in the pediatric death toll from swine flu as compared to seasonal flu:

* Normally, half or more of the children who die from flu are age 4 and younger. But more than 80 percent of the kids who died with swine flu were 5 or older.
* Almost two-thirds of the children who died with swine flu had epilepsy, cerebral palsy or other neurodevelopmental conditions. In a previous flu season, only a third of pediatric deaths had those conditions.
* Bacterial co-infections were a big danger, and were blamed in most of the deaths of otherwise healthy children. Co-infections usually occur when a patient, weakened by a virus, then gets hit by a bacterial bug.

OK, so clearly, we don’t fall into the “two-thirds” category that had existing medical conditions. I guess what gets me thinking is this quote: “Of the children who were healthy before they got swine flu, many were probably killed by a one-two punch of swine flu working with a bacterial co-infection…” Obviously, something totally out of your hands (as, I realize, much of life is…but still, we’re looking at possible prevention).

Now, I’m thinking. And reading. And praying that I make a good decision. Please comment if you’re so inclined…

15 responses to “On Flu Shots

  1. I probably will get it when it becomes available. I know I’m in a different category (age) than most of your readers, and if I were fully retired, I would most likely not get the vaccine.

    However, being around h.s. students (you can’t believe how sick some of them come to school), as well as often subbing for a teacher who is actually sick, puts me in a very germy environment.

    I don’t really know what I would decide if I were in your age group w/ young kids.

  2. James 1:5

    That’s all I have to say on this topic for now. I am still in the midst of much prayer over what choice we will make here.

  3. I’m so torn. I know I’ll be doing all vaccinations differently with this baby, knowing what I know now and having met the people that I have over the last two years, but I’m sure they’ll be out of the flu shot by the time he’s old enough anyway. I do know that I’ll probably be more cautious about how much I leave the house with him WAY more than I ever was with Jack.

    Jack did get a flu shot last year. And he had flu-like stuff twice during the winter.

    It’s such a guessing game . . .

  4. i completely understand hesitations with this vaccine (H1N1) but all 3 of us will be getting it once it is made available to the public. adali will get it for obvious reasons, jastin will get it as a healthcare worker and after a thought filled discussion between jastin and i, we have decided that i should get it as well.

    we are still undecided about the annual flu shot at this point. last winter we all received it.

  5. i voted no, none of us but that might not be true anymore. eric said that the station will probably be providing them for their officers and he’ll get it if they do since he’ll potentially be in situations where he may come in contact w/ it.
    we do get flu shots every year if they are in stock so if they ever put the h1n1 shot into the annual one (who knows if this will happen) then we will get it.
    but as for now, the boys and i aren’t going out specifically to get the h1n1 shot.

  6. I voted that I would get it this year. I don’t usually get the regular flu shot- in fact, the only time I have is when I was pregnant before. Bailey has gotten it both years and will get it this year too.

    I am guessing now that I am pregnant again my dr will want me to get both the regular flu and swine flu vax- if it is proven to be safe in pregnant women. See, that’s risky either way for me though. If i don’t get it, I might get sick and it would hurt the baby. If I DO get it and it has side effects then it also hurts the baby.

    Bailey will most likely get it if it seems safe, because she comes into contact with A LOT of kids between church nursery, early childhood classes, and gymnastics. But I am still thinking/reading/deciding.

  7. Nic I am glad you posted this. I, too, am naturally skeptical about a vaccination that is currently in the test phase and rolling out in a few weeks. Doesn’t seem to be enough lead time for me. On one hand, are you jeopardizing your (and your family’s) health this season by not getting it, or are you putting yourself in jeopardy in case some unknown side effect comes from the shot? I’m glad you have those stats posted too. It will be a tough decision for us as well.

  8. I haven’t put much thought into it yet – but with dad being on chemo we will most likely do all the shots just to help protect him.

  9. I’m a teacher, and I’m pregnant. More than enough to convince me! I’ll be getting the vaccine when it becomes available– per my OB’s request. I already got the annual flu vaccine.

  10. I could go on and on about this but I won’t. I voted no but may change my mind when Staci starts her chemo. I guess we’ll just play it by ear. But with a newborn, Aden in preschool and Liam running around this will be very touchy for us. Again – we will just see as time goes.

  11. I really am torn on this one. At this point, I’m still leaning toward not getting it, but I’m not 100% on that yet. This is a toughy!

  12. Yesterday’s parent club guest speaker was a mom that is an ER nurse and the school nurse on this exact topic. They said that the flu shot will not have the swine flu vaccine in it and that the swine flu vaccine will most likely be delivered in two doses. Both boys have had a flu shot as soon as they could. They will still get that shot.

    However, I am leaning towards getting the shot for them. With their dad as a diabetic an easily getting any and every illness out there, I believe that they have more of a chance to be exposed to it.

    They also spoke yesterday about not putting the book bag on the kitchen counter or table. In fact, they recommended leaving all shoes in the garage as well as the backpack. They said to bring the contents inside but went on to say how disgusting the back pack was. Nice…

  13. Nicole, this is a great question. Since I work in health care, I will definitely be getting the vaccine. So will my kids. The last thing that needs to happen is me bringing it home from work to them (that’s why I will be getting it), or Ella getting it from school or the gym and everyone getting it. My kids have always gotten the flu shot every year since they were 6 mos old. I think I am a big proponent because I see the co-morbidities in the hospital and take care of some of these patients. I feel that if there is something out there that can help to protect my kids, then why wouldn’t I do it for them? I also don’t think that anyone who doesn’t do the whole vaccine thing is wrong- it’s definitely a personal choice.

  14. We’re going to get the regular shot and the H1N1 as well if/when it comes out. Some of the children who have died who had “pre-existing conditions”, had things like asthma One of my boys has asthma, so I’d rather they just got the shot.

  15. So, my response to your poll was undecided. And, I still am. I wanted to talk with my neighbor who is a manager for pharma co that will sell said H1N1 vaccine. She’s still undecided on whether she will give her kids the vaccine. She wants to see what comes of the studies.

    She did say that we may not have a choice. When asked what she meant, she said it could possibly be required to have to attend school……

    I will continue to ponder this and talk with her more as she gets more info. If you are interested, I can keep you in the loop.

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