The last time I saw my doctor, he was very firm on the subject of flu vaccinations. Get them for myself, and get them for my kids. Get the H1N1 vaccination for my kids the instant it becomes available. Do not pass Go, do not fiddle-fart around, go directly to the pediatrician’s office.

I planned to do so. Then, after a while, I started feeling unsure. Specifically about the H1N1 vaccine. I started worrying, in my non-medical-professional mouthbreathing sort of way, about potential dangers of a fast-tracked vaccine, and about reactions and side effects. You know, like a fever. Or . . . Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Death. Little things like that.

Then I read that in preparation for the swine flu vaccine, Washington has temporarily lifted a restriction that limits the amount of thimerosol—a mercury preservative—given to pregnant women and children under 3. Only around 15% of the vaccine supply will be mercury-free, and people may have to wait longer for it to become available.

Huh, I thought. That doesn’t seem good. Isn’t mercury what made Jeremy Piven such an insufferable douchebag, or something?

The FDA assures us the trace amount of mercury in an influenza vaccination is fine. The CDC is recommending vaccinations for people 6 months to 24 years old, among other groups. And since it seems inevitable that my kids will be repeatedly exposed to the flu this season—you can throw all the hand sanitizer you want at a daycare, but it’s still basically a toy-filled, skill-building petri dish—it would be irresponsible for me to not get that vaccine, right? I mean, statistically if we’re looking at worst-case scenarios the kids are probably much more likely to have Something Bad happen from the flu than a vaccination. JB’s coworker had the H1N1 virus a couple weeks ago and described how it made him feel like he couldn’t breathe for a couple days. Well, jesus. If there’s a way to help my kids avoid getting an illness like that, I should be ALL OVER IT.

… right?

So why does this feel like such a creepy, shitty decision?

Where are you at with the swine flu vaccine, with regards to your kids? I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts.

Comments

218 Responses to “Fretful”

  1. Pharmacist on September 30th, 2009 7:26 pm

    I think it’s hilarious all of the “my kids aren’t in daycare therefore they don’t need to be vaccinated” comments. WTF! Are you that naive people? Is daycare the only place a child is exposed to germs? Do you not leave your house? Sit them in a shopping cart? Let them play with neighbors? Cousins? Older siblings who go to school? Please. Don’t be so f-ing self righteous to think that your kids can only get sick if they’re in daycare. Kids are more susceptible to germs. Period. They spend all day with their hands in their mouths or up their noses. Do they wash their hands constantly? Use hand sanitizer? Cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze? Wake the F up. If you think your child is too damn precious to risk getting a vaccination, come talk to me when they’re in the hospital with influenza or some other ocmmunicable disease becaue you chose to be a lemming.

  2. Pharmacist on September 30th, 2009 7:28 pm

    Oh…and PS, H1N1 or any other strain of influenza do not equal stomach flu. Gastroenteritis (stomach flu) and influenza are two TOTALLY separate viruses. Not even remotely related. You don’t throw up with the real “flu”.

  3. bkwyrm on October 1st, 2009 11:45 am

    Got my flu shot yesterday. Fish (age 2) got her flu shot on Monday. If the H1N1 is available to us, we’ll get that too.
    Fish does not go to daycare, but we live in a large city, and I have a sister-in-law in college who’s over a few times a week. Universities are hotbeds of flu/piggy flu/various illnesses. So all the folks refusing the vaccine because their kid is not in daycare….y’all need to stop and think for a minute. You leave your houses, you go to the grocery store, you have playdates and go to the park and the library and maybe to Gymboree. What’s more, people who come into your house have all been different places and you don’t KNOW that they’ve washed their hands and sanitized their clothes, etc.
    My aunt is a public health nurse. Despite the fact that no one in my family is really high risk, we get vaccinated because we know we can at least contribute to herd immunity. Taking one for the team, as it were.

  4. jeanie on October 1st, 2009 12:37 pm

    Over here in Australia, they are not releasing the shot to any children under 10 because it has not been tested enough on that age group.

    It is also not recommended for anyone with egg allergies.

    As the company that is supplying us is also supplying half of the US market I figure you are getting the same vaccine – but obviously our health authorities sing of different song sheets.

    I am 30 weeks pregnant, but am waiting until at least birth before getting the shot because I want there to be SOME MORE research – but I am also lucky in that (a) I live in a regional centre and (b) we are at the other end of the season to you, so I am betting on the roll of the dice to not get so hugely worse until next year.

  5. Jennifer on October 1st, 2009 1:32 pm

    Our peds think it’s unethical (medically speaking) the way the H1N1 vax was fast-tracked without appropriate testing. They are not ordering any or recommending it. They do recommend the FluMist nasal vaccination for kids over 2 since it is 90+% effective and offers some overlap protection for swine flu because of how it works through the nose rather than through the bloodstream like the standard flu shot.

    Recent research about live virus issue and concerns about shedding have lifted a lot of the restrictions form eligibility. Kids with asthma can have it now, as long as their asthma is well controlled.

    Our peds are super conservative about vaccines, and this is the first year they have even stocked FluMist — they wait that long for ample research to be compiled before they make it available to their patients.

    And no, I am not a marketing drone from FluMist. Just a mom who went to the ped today for a well baby visit for my 2 month old and chatted about flu shots for my 3 year old. My doc has never given her own 3 year old a flu shot, but will be goin’ nasal this year for her.

  6. Jonniker. » Pity and Fear on October 1st, 2009 6:30 pm

    […] with that, I will contradict myself MIGHTILY and mention the swine flu vaccine issue, which Sundry hosted a really awesome discussion about earlier this week. Truly, I was riveted by all of the comments, and in full disclosure, I […]

  7. K on October 2nd, 2009 11:11 am

    My dad does a lot of work with the CDC and just got back from a week out there. He called and told us to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

    He has never recommended a vaccine before. We spaced out our infant vaccines and were very careful.

    But we are getting this one, after talking with him.

    I think it is simply a case of comparing risks. I think that every vaccine has *some* risk. And every illness has some risk.

    So, each individual needs to figure out which risk is worse to them. My dad is coming down on the side that this flu strain is not behaving as they expect and there is a risk that it could be really, really bad this winter. It could turn out to be nothing, too. But we don’t know that right now. So, we are left with weighing the risks and making the best decision we can with the information we can get.

  8. Kate on October 3rd, 2009 10:46 am

    As far as I’m concerned, I don’t believe in vaccinating against things that can’t kill you. (I’d be happy to see links to any information that confirms otherwise, but as far as I’ve heard, no one who wasn’t already immuno-compromised has died from H1N1) I guess it’s conspiracy-theory-esque, but I often wonder if vaccinating against everything is part of why all these viruses are mutating and become more persevering. I got the first round of the chicken pox vaccine for my oldest son, and he got full blown chicken pox. I’ve gotten two flu shots, and each time I got the flu so badly within two weeks that it persisted into pneumonia. I won’t be getting the chicken pox vaccine, flu or H1N1 shot for either of my boys.

    (besides, what if it creates ZOMBIES? THEN HOW DUMB WILL YOU ALL FEEL?)

  9. Jeremy on October 4th, 2009 4:47 pm

    I know that I am late to this discussion, but I want to put my two cents in none the less. I am a biologist and it troubles my greatly that people are so distrustful of scientists. We are not perfect and certainly do make mistakes, but we have a system of review in place that does a pretty amazing job of making sure that research is accurate. Therefore, why wouldn’t you get vaccinated if every respected scientist says that you should. There are absolutely no (I repeat, zero) credible reports of vaccines causing autism. I can cite you a dozen anecdotes, but can find alternative explanations for every one. In my opinion, the risk of getting a side effect from the vaccine is 1 in 100,000 or 1 in 1,000,000. The risk of getting seriously ill from H1N1 if you are not vaccinated is more like 1 in 1000. Why wouldn’t you risk a one in a million chance to prevent a one in a thousand chance of getting sick? My kids (2 and 4) had their flu shot, and will get their H1N1 as soon as we can. I hope that everyone else will as well, so that in the spring we can all laugh at how worried we were about this when it H1N1 was so minor, because we prepared for it.

  10. ladybughugs on October 9th, 2009 11:33 am

    I’m taking the wait-and-see approach. I will probably have to get the girl the regular flu vaccine…NJ state law requires it for children under the age of 5 in daycare or preschool.

    My pediatrician has been very hesitant to recommend the H1N1 virus. He remembers the last one. He doesn’t agree with the states requirement to have healthy, not-at-risk children get the regular vaccine, so I’ll wait…and see how this flu season develops. The girl’s 4-year check-up is in early December so I have time.

  11. sapphireslinger on October 21st, 2009 11:39 pm

    Check out …

    Eighteen Reasons Why You Should NOT Vaccinate Your Children Against The Flu This Season

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi119.html

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr (yes, THE Robert F. Kennedy, Jr) — Dangers of Vaccines, an MSNBC clip on Youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3kqALekheA

    Swine Flu Vaccination Poses Serious Threat to Your Health

    http://euro-med.dk/?p=9152

    German Chancellor, Ministers Get Special Vaccine Without Soft Kill Ingredients

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/german-chancellor-ministers-get-special-vaccine-without-soft-kill-ingredients.html

    and http://www.drcarley.com/

  12. Courtney W. on November 3rd, 2009 12:56 pm

    So, totally forget what I said in my previous comment. While my GP told me not to bother with the H1N1 vaccine, my OB was absolutely adamant that I get it. Now I’m on a waiting list. The kid is getting it too. And you know what, I’m totally okay with it, I can’t afford to get sick and hope that I’m doing my best to avoid it by getting the vaccines.

  13. Rae on November 5th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Had my kids vaccinated with H1N1 nasal mist and exactly 7 days later they are very, very ill with heavy flu like symptoms. Ped says they cant cofirm its H1N1 and they think it’s a coincidence. I think not. I was uneasy about the decision to vaccinate and now I greatly regret that we did. I think the hype and push to vaccinate is only creating more sickness.

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