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…