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.

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beach
beach
13 years ago

My kids are 16 and 19(one has asthma)….and have NEVER had the flu shot….I work in the healthcare field and forgo the flu shot. I got it one year(a year the were predicting a major flu season)…and it was the sickest winter of my life….caught every virus, cold, puke bug going around….swear the flu shot wiped out my immunity….just my thinking. Also, most doctors and nurses I know, not big flu shot getting type people either.

Tony
13 years ago

The problem with relying on your pediatrician is that they can be biased. Given the legal system in this country, doctors are forced to always err on the side of covering their butts.

If they recommend to parents that their kids not get the shot and god forbid a child dies, they are in for a boatload of shit.

If they recommend parents do get the shot and god forbid a child dies, they aren’t responsible.

Which way would you go?

I’m not saying that all pediatricians think this way, but it’s certainly a factor. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times that our children have gotten sick on the weekend and I cringe because I know what comes next. My wife calls the on call doctor, and 99 times out of a 100 the doctor utters the 6 worst words you can hear: “Take him/her to the emergency room”.

And 98 out of those 99 times, it’s a totally useless trip. You spend 3 hours (if you’re lucky) at the hospital only to be sent home with the “it’s a virus, nothing we can do, give them pedialyte and call your doctor on Monday”.

Sue
Sue
13 years ago

I’ll throw in my two cents but it’s probably not even worth that. H1N1 is alive and well at my office and at this point I’m more concerned about being exposed to the mushroom clouds of Lysol and the fumes from the hand sanitizer. I am constantly amazed by the number of adults I see not covering their mouths when they cough and sneeze and not washing their hands after using the bathroom. GROSS. I wish we’d spend more time educating the adults, who think this behavior is acceptable, than all the time and energy spent freaking about the swine. Because really, when peeps are among us in society behaving like that, Lord only knows what else they are spreading. The swine might be the least of our concerns. Get the regular flu shot but don’t get the H1N1. It’s too new, roo rushed, too scary. The peeps I know with the swine say it is a week on the couch with a fever and a cough and the cough will last for a week or two beyond that. I can do w/o the fever and cough but I’ll take one order of a week on the couch, please.

Melody
13 years ago

I am with you on this one, though I don’t have kids so I only have to worry about my own personal self.

My mom works at a medical school–not as a doctor, as an administrator–so she feels she is hip to all the most recent medical news. She is ADAMANT that I get the H1N1 vaccine. I am 26, so I am right in a prime age group for it, and I have asthma, which apparently puts me at a bigger risk. She says one of the residents at the medical school–a person with asthma, but otherwise healthy–is currently in the hospital on a ventilator from H1N1.

So why do I feel so hesitant about getting the vaccine? Why do I resist getting the regular flu shots every year? It’s what the doctors say is best. I understand, from a community health perspective, that when more people get the vaccine, it helps to limit the overall spread of the bug, thus helping to limit the total number of deaths and whatnot.

Yet, I feel so icky about the idea of getting the vaccine. I think part of me wants to believe I’m stronger than that the flu, and stronger than H1N1, and part me of is afraid of what could be lurking in that vial. I don’t know which of those fears is the more foolish.

Claudia
13 years ago

I have always gotten the regular flu shot for my kids. My youngest ends up on the nebulizer just from a cold and had RSV as an infant so god only knows what the flu would do to her. My oldest got the flu one year at Christmas because it ran out. She was incredibly sick during the first Christmas she was really aware of the holiday (I think she was three). Giving a small feverish child suppositories is NOT my idea of a merry christmas. We have never had any side effects from the vaccine and recently they’ve gotten the flu mist when it was available.

As for swine flu, I don’t know. It takes two doses, I’ve read, which means three separate trips to the doctor (45 min away; driving in rush hour traffic). I understand the swine flu is less awful than the regular one. I’m on the fence about it.

Stephanie
Stephanie
13 years ago

Oh, and I have never had a flu shot. Neither has my husband. I think we have each had the flu once in the last 10 years. I did get my daughter the flu shot last year, only because she had just started preschool. The month before she got the shot, she had the flu.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

“Some Canadian studies suggest that the regular flu shot will make one more susceptible to contract H1N1 BEFORE that vaccine is even available.” – this was from an unconfirmed, unpublished study of only 2,000 people. It is not reliable information.

I’m pregnant too (20 weeks tomorrow!), and I’ve never gotten any type of flu vaccine in the past, mostly because I don’t go to the doctor unless I absolutely have to. Not out of fear or anything. I just don’t like strangers. Anyway, my doctor did recommend both vaccines for me, especially since the baby will be born during the middle of flu season. I am pretty set on getting the thimerosol-free version, but not because of any supposed link to autism. I just figure if they don’t want me eating fish more than once a week because of the mercury content in it then getting a shot that contains it if I have another option seems kind of silly.

Also, I agree 100% with Jess – the H1N1 vaccine has been developed the same way the seasonal flu vaccine is developed every year. If they had known it was going to be an issue in time, it would have been included in that vaccine.

Becky
13 years ago

Crap. Forgot to enter my info. Anonymous at 1:33 was me.

Lawyerish
13 years ago

I’m almost 15 weeks pregnant, and I just got my seasonal flu shot today. When the H1N1 vax comes out, I plan to get it as well.

I agree with others who have noted that the known risk of complications from flu, especially the at-risk population such as pregnant women and small children, outweigh the unproven, alleged risks from vaccines.

(As the New York Times pointed out today in an article about vaccine fears, people drop dead and get into car crashes within a day of having a flu shot, but it doesn’t mean the flu shot CAUSED the sudden death or the car crash.)

Although the scary stories and the news about mercury/thimerosol give me that niggling worry, too (whether or not that’s rational, based on available scientific evidence), I’m not a biochemist or a physician, and the people who have been working their tails off to develop this vaccine (in the same way, as others have said, they developed vaccines in the past) — not to mention my own doctors — know a whole lot more about this than I do. You know? Not that I blindly follow medical advice, but in the end I defer to their expertise.

Anyway, bottom line is that so long as my OB/GYN and my primary doctor continue to recommend the H1N1 for me, I will get it.

Sunshyn
Sunshyn
13 years ago

P.S. Centers for Disease Control quietly revised their current autism statistics to be one in 100 children in the U.S. in the autism spectrum. More in some parts of the country. I’d consider THAT a pandemic.

Melissa
13 years ago

I work at home, I keep our two year old at home with me. We also have a first grader – who lovingly delivers illnesses to us from time to time. My husband works in an outside office. My husband may get a flu vaccine. I am not getting myself or my girls the vaccine. Regular or H1N1. Personally I’m not convinced that the vaccine makes much of a difference (because they guess the strain and so far most people I know get ill after getting the vaccine). I’m sure I’m in the minority but I’d rather risk getting the flu. As a side note, we do all other child vaccinations as scheduled.

Andrea
13 years ago

Thimerosal (the mercury stuff) was taken out b/c of the theory on it linking to autism. Obviously autism has not decreased since they started taking it out of shots years ago, but now the limit is in place, there it is – for no real reason. This type of mercury doesn’t build up in the system, unlike douche Piven’s and is perfectly safe. Here is some info from the W.H.O. http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/topics/thiomersal/statement_jul2006/en/index.html
I’ll be first in line for the H1N1.

Sarah Miller
13 years ago

Try reading VACCINATED, by Paul Offit. It squashed a lot of vaccination myths for me, particularly those regarding autism.

For example: My understanding is that the mercury in vaccines is different from mercury in thermometers — sort of like the way liquor is different from rubbing alcohol.

spacegeek
spacegeek
13 years ago

Well not to pick on one post, but it struck a chord. I too was of the “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I was proud of the fact that my twin daughters, at age 3, had never been to an ER and had only gone to the doctor for vaccinations and regular checkups. All was well.

One of my girls was diagnosed with Leukemia July 21. She had abdominal pain for 5 days, no fever and trouble walking/sitting down. We thought it was a virus, and associated Guilliame-Barre. Turns out we had classic symptoms of Leukemia.

We are in week 9 of a 2.5 year course of treatment, with the first 6 months being chemo every week. She has a 90% surivival rate if we follow the protocol and listen to our doctor.

We already got our flu shots, and you better believe it we are all getting H1N1 as soon as it is available.

There are far worse things than the flu. Protect yourselves from what you can, and IMO, be grateful that medicine has come as far as it has.

If people hadn’t listen to their doctors, the disease that my daughter has would kill her. 30 years ago there was a 1% survival rate. Now the same thing has a 90% survival rate because medicine has evolved over those years. Your doctors are not fools. Listen to them.

Courtney
Courtney
13 years ago

I have a 22 month old daughter, and I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant. I have asthma. According to what I’ve heard in the media, I should be first in line to get the H1N1 vaccine. However, when I went for my annual physical, my doctor told me to skip it. He said that they don’t test these things on pregnant women, like most drugs…pregnant women aren’t included in clinical trials. He said the risks are unknown, and the strain we’ve had is much more mild than many other flus we’ve had.

I still plan to talk to my pediatrician about it the next time I go, but for now I think I am content with not getting it myself. (I will get the regular flu shot though) I will take my ped’s recommendation on my little one. I trust my particular doctors, and in the past it has always served me well that they are pretty hands off when it comes to medicating, etc. That’s why I choose to go to them.

Mrs Soup
13 years ago

We do regular vaccinations (MMR, etc.) but not the flu shot. The fact that they have to be gotten each year and even then, don’t cover every single flu option, AND the shot can give you the flu? Seems a lot of risk for not a lot of reward. Granted, the autism link has been dis proven, and I wasn’t worried about that either. But the flu? Not too worried.

That, and my husband is a SAHD with our daughter and I work in the front office of the building and rarely come in contact with anyone. So the fear for the swine flu is low.

Mary
Mary
13 years ago

I’m getting them. I’m also pregnant, if that counts for anything. The risk of H1N1 for pregos (death) outweighs the risks from the shot (er, zero, if you look into it, and minor risks if you want to be extra paranoid). I’m married to a public health PhD, and the whole “It hasn’t been tested much” thing isn’t relevant here. It HAS been sufficiently tested (CDC website for more info), and further, the H1N1 shot is basically a tweaked flu shot, which has been around for a zillion years. The worst thing that could happen if I do get the shot is that it doesn’t work. Christ, there are zillions of talented, concerned public health professionals working their asses off for pennies to try to help save our communities from needlessly dying from preventable illness, none of whom are linked to any pharma company or government or money-mongers. They just genuinely don’t want you to die, and take great care with their work and research. By all means, do your own research and follow your own comfort level, but don’t call it a fricking conspiracy.

Jess
13 years ago

After reading Mrs Soup’s comment, I feel the need to clarify: the flu shot cannot give you the flu. The injected flu shot contains inactivated (killed) viruses, and the nasal spray contains attenuated (weakened) strains that are too insignificant to cause flu illness. Full stop. If you get the flu right after getting the flu shot, it means you had already been exposed to the virus (probably three to five days earlier), because it can take your body up to two weeks post-vaccination to build full immunity.

Erin
13 years ago

Linda, I am strongly pro-vaccination, and suggest that you do some more research if you’re really concerned. Here’s something you might want to check out re: mercury — http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/topics/thiomersal/statement_jul2006/en/index.html.

If it were my kids, I would absolutely get the shots. But, at the end of the day, the decision is yours and don’t let anyone, including me, make you feel shitty about it.

jonniker
13 years ago

I’m vaccinating everyone. Me, Adam and the baby. With H1N1 AND the seasonal flu shot. I am, however, very pro-vaccine, have done my own research (research I realize that other people have done THEIR own research to refute, and I’m okay with that), and I’m comfortable with all of it.

I’ve read countless studies on Thimerosal and discussed it with my doctor at length, and am comfortable with my decision. And dude, this is Vermont, where a larger than normal portion of the population does not vaccinate, and our pediatrician is supportive of that.

Thimerosal is processed completely differently in the body than other types of mercury and is actually excreted before it builds up in the body. As others have said, the autism link is non-existent, in my opinion, because even after its removal, autism has not decreased — and in fact, continues to rise.

What I do NOT understand, however, is the people who will get the regular flu shot and not the swine flu shot. People! Yes, it was developed quickly, but you know what? So is the flu shot, every year. Same process. True story. Same additives. True story. And because the swine flu is done with a *known* strain, it is expected to be very effective. Versus, you know, the flu strain that they GUESS at every year.

Jess said my feelings best, as well. I am a big old vaccinator. I do not believe that autism and vaccines are linked, and I am relatively vocal about it when asked, although I don’t come out with it regularly, as I know people are touchy.

So next month, Adam and I are getting two shots. The baby is getting four — two shots, one week apart.

Keisha
13 years ago

My boys are 7 years & 10 months. Neither have ever had a flu shot, nor will they ever. NO flu or H1N1 vaccines in this house.

My grandfather was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome after a flu shot. That was before the birth of my 1st son. I decided from then on I would limit vaccines that my child(ren) receive.

There are articles stating that even the makers of the H1N1 vaccine refuse to inject themselves with it! That says something.

Also, some doctors believe the vaccine is more deadly then the actual flu itself! (seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1z7KSEnyxw)

Instead of a vaccine we have opted to stock up on http://www.oscillo.com/ so that in case the flu enters our house, at least we have a homiopathic remedy to take away the bugs intensity. It’s the natural way & has no side effects on my boys!!

Jackie
Jackie
13 years ago

Just for full disclosure…I am not pro-vaccine. I follow a modified Dr. Sears alternative vac schedule. I was not planning on getting the regular flu shot for my son or the h1n1 but after all of the h1n1 scares I’m considering the regular flu shot now. I will not be doing h1n1 because of all the reasons you mentioned but feel like maybe the fully tested flu shot is a “risk” I’m willing to take in such a high risk flu year. My logic may not make any sense but I will be talking to our ped about it.

haitian american family of three

Well, our group health Dr here in Seattle said that it would be fine to NOT get the shot for our almost three year old and that even if she gets it, just to treat this flu like any other. I was not totally sure until I read the news about the thimerosol and then my husband and I both said OH HELL TO THE NO we are not giving her that shot…we’re just washing our hands a bunch and eating well and staying out of playgroups for a bit.

sbryan11
sbryan11
13 years ago

It’s just my husband and I and our two dogs…no kiddos yet… We do not get the regular flu vaccine and definitely not the H1N1. Like so many others, we eat clean, work out often, wash our hands, throw away our dirty tissues and then wash our hands again. We both work in 1000+ employee cube farms which is just as disgusting as the petri-dish daycares. We might get a bug here and there but we haven’t had the flu in the 10 years we’ve been together. If I had kids, I would probably do the seasonal one for them, but no H1N1.

Angela
Angela
13 years ago

I always get a flu shot, because I commute by public transit, have a deadline-heavy job that makes missing work difficult, and also, THE FLU SUCKS. REALLY REALLY HARD. I think a lot of people don’t realize how awful the flu can be. The last time I had it, I was sick for three weeks, and came down with all kinds of secondary infections. It was awful. I can’t imagine having a kid go through that.

I have a 10-month-old daughter who is in daycare and her pediatrician was strongly recommending the H1N1 shot the last time we were in. She (the ped) said that H1N1 was the most contagious virus she had seen in a long time–if one person in a family got it, the whole family would get it. I don’t want my baby girl to get sick like I did the last time I had flu. I don’t want to get sick because she picks something up from daycare.

The swine flu vaccine is tested just as much as the regular flu vaccine–as someone else said, both are new this year, and every year. And considering that this is likely to be the only vaccine she’ll receive that has thimerosal in it (because all other kids’ vaccines don’t have it), I’m really not concerned, even if I did think there was a causal link between thimerosal and autism. Which there is NOT.

Is there a guarantee the shots will prevent you getting sick? No. Do I plan to use every tool available to me to avoid getting sick, and to avoid my daughter and husband getting sick? Yes.

KB
KB
13 years ago

My kids are in day care/school, I work with in the court system and get coughed on all day long. We have never had flu shots and won’t be getting a brand new shot. We vax for everything else but not flu. We go to a chiropractor and get adjusted regularly and since we started doing that, we rarely get sick. We started probiotics in addition to our regular vitamins. I will worry that they’ll get sick this year just like every other year, but will take that over the worry of unknown effects of a shot that may or may not even work against the flu.

Sarah Lena
13 years ago

First – an honest request: I didn’t read through all of these comments, so I’m kinda hoping you do a follow-up post to talk about what the majority of us say.

I’m terrified of the H1N1 vaccine. I firmly believe that if I had girls, I wouldn’t even flinch. But knowing that boys are more likely to develop autism, and they haven’t 100% cleared the connection of vaccine to autism.. well, it’s gotten me spooked.

I just kind of feel that we’ll all be getting the seasonal flu vaccine. We’ll take our chances on H1N1 until it’s been around for a few seasons. And if the daycares start requiring it?

.. we’ll just cross that bridge when we get there, I guess.

jonniker
13 years ago

And you know what? I can handle people who don’t like vaccinating their kids. I can handle the fact that some people don’t like the vaccine or the preservatives or whatever.

What I cannot handle is the people who think it’s a CONSPIRACY. Oh for CHRISSAKE. A CONSPIRACY. This isn’t a TV movie. We are not on 24. It’s the FLU. A STRAIN OF THE FLU. IT HAPPENS.

melanie
melanie
13 years ago

I am going to try and get my kids vaccinated for H1N1, unfortunately my pediatricians office said they are not expecting to get the vaccine until quite some time AFTER its released, so she suggested going to my county health clinic when its available and getting the kids vaccinated, but please when I tried to get my son in for vaccines there in 2005 (back when my health insurance only covered the first $200 in preventative care) I waited over 2 1/2 hours and NEVER DID receive any shots, gave up and took my distraught child home.

My kids have, however, already received their annual regular flu shots/flu mists….. and my worry level for the h1n1 vaccine just isnt that high, I choose every year to get my kids the flu shot and EVERY year its new so why flip out over this one? I generally do what my pediatrician says to do, if I didn’t trust her, she wouldn’t be my kids doc.

christina
christina
13 years ago

any side effects from any vaccine, including the H1N1 are better than DEAD. which is a side effect of any flu, and the H1N1 is more hard on child then the season flu. so i am vaccinating my 2 year old, and my husband, and myself as we have a 3 month old and any side effects are better off then having my child in the hospital.

the H1N1 had been tested on 44,000 people in china. 44,000! at least that is what i remember reading in the NYtimes story. i don’t think that is a small sample size for testing.

chance of bad side effects from vaccine<< chance of death from flu
though both are VERY small, i rather not take the chance.

Val
Val
13 years ago

I have no idea. I’m trying very hard to walk the line between responsible and panicky parent. We have all gotten our regular flu shots, and my gut says get the H1N1 since it is supposedly is created the same way as the regular flu shot.

That being said, I am worried about this mercury business. And worried about the media coverage. Are they making it out to be worse than it is? Or are they simply trying to help us make informed choices. Ugh. I just don’t know.

My pedi is recommending it, said to call back in October to see if they have it, and if they are still recommending it. My son has post-bronchiolitis asthma and possibly exposing him to the swine flu and all the horribleness that goes along with it for someone in the “risk” pool – well – I don’t feel good about that. So …I will probably get it for him [22 mo] and probably get it for my 4.5 yr old daughter as well.

Yeah. Basically I am no help at all. :)

E
E
13 years ago

I’m a mother to an autistic son. And I, too, am on the fence over the H1N1 vaccine. All I can think about is whether or not there really *is* a connection between the vaccines and autism. What if my high-functioning autistic son turns into a low-functioning, non-verbal autistic boy? I’m not sure I can live with that. So I think that we’ll skip this one. But I’m willing to hedge my bets because he’s never had a flu vaccine.

I, on the other hand, had a flu shot last week. I may also get the H1N1 shot if it becaomes available to me. I work in childcare, and those little ones are always getting me sick!

Kim
Kim
13 years ago

First of all, ask your doc if they will be administering individual doses or using the multidose vaccine. Only the multidose vaccine contains thimerisol. I am 32 weeks pregnant and my OB strongly recommended both vaccines, but also assured me that they would be receiving the individual dose units w/o thimerisol.
On the other hand, I have heard that the amount of mercury in a vaccine is about equivalent to the mercury in a can of tuna. I would encourage you to research this particular statement though as I am unsure of its accuracy.
All that being said, I have heard from parents that H1N1 is really no worse than the regular flu (maybe even not as bad) for an otherwise healthy child. However, I do agree with the person who commented that “The swine flu vaccine is tested just as much as the regular flu vaccine… both are new this year, and every year.”

Tammy
Tammy
13 years ago

Linda,

I’m a Registered Nurse in a Medical ICU in TN and this weekend there was 4 patients (all under the age of 40) that were relying on a ventilator to breathe because of H1N1. So, I will be the first one in line to vaccinate myself and my three year old daughter. Yes, it’s scary, but to me not nearly as scary as what I witnessed Saturday night. Just my two cents.

Penny
13 years ago

I’m exactly where you are. I’m mostly concerned with the limited time with which companies have had to complete the vaccine.

It IS a shitty decision either way.

Undoubtedly I will get one, as will my husband. But it’s our daughter that I’m still worried about…

Jessica
13 years ago

I’m wavering between feeling like this is all a scam from the media to freak everyone out to worrying that my one year old son is at risk when I let him sit in a shopping cart without sanitizing the rails. I have never gotten a flu shot before and I don’t plan on getting either vaccine for me or him, unless my hesitant to medicate doctor tells me I should.

Lettie
Lettie
13 years ago

I have 3 kids (6,4, and 2) and am pregnant. The older kids have asthma and we always get our seasonal flu vaccines. But the H1N1?

We are sitting it out. We live in Texas and the swine flu is already making the rounds in our area including some of my nieces and nephews. It seems to be a few days of fever, achy misery then over.

I’m a nurse and think that the vaccine is being rushed and I don’t want my kids to be guinea pigs. Frankly I don’t trust much that the government (both Rep and Dem) does and especially when they hurry.

Also, my dad work at a local hospital and is part of their emergency management team. They’ve been having lots of meetings with the health department over H1N1 and were all cautioned NOT to get the vaccine.

Marie Green
13 years ago

Here’s my highly illogical response: I’ve been sorta wishing my kids just get the H1N1 already, if it’s going to go around anyway, and then we’ll be DONE with it. Natural immunity before it mutates ETC. Because if they DID get it, it wouldn’t be my “fault”- they are in public school all day and all, and then we’d just be able to quit fretting about the vaccine.

I am clearly one of those people that should have never been allowed to raise offspring.

Eileen
13 years ago

Since my kid is behind on shots in general I am getting him the h1n1 when it’s available. ‘Cause ya know his ummune system is already less protected. It’s such a hard thing to wrap yourself around in re: to shots. It pisses me off in some respects because it’s also a cash cow. My pedi won’t cover the flu shot for Levi under insurance. Pay outta pocket. WTF? I don’t know. I wouldn’t feel an ounce bad for whatever you choose. Honestly I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to it, it’s almost whatever your situation is, act accordingly. :)

Penny
13 years ago

Jess said: “The H1N1 vaccine is developed using exactly the same methods as the seasonal flu vaccine, so even though it seems like it’s scary! and new! it is really just like a seasonal flu vaccine for a different strain. The H1N1 vaccine is being extensively tested, just like the seasonal flu vaccine is tested each year.”

Same methods, different time scale…

I believe that this makes a huge difference in Quality Assurance.

I’d love it if the companies addressed, honestly, what ‘shortcuts’ they took for the swine flu vaccine vs ‘regular’ vaccine. I’d love it also if the gov’t explained why it lifted certain restrictions on swine flu content only. I don’t believe in the hype about thermisol and autism, and maybe ‘regular’ thermisol limits are un-supportively low, but I do believe in adequate review and science-based decisions regarding health policy, and a temporary lift of a typical restriction doesn’t sit well with me.

Jess
13 years ago

Penny: I think that’s a great point. But I actually think you answered your own question. The time scale is different but not that drastically because a big portion of the seasonal flu vaccine development is spent trying to identify which strains are likely to be prevalent the following season. This is not a concern with the H1N1 vaccine as the strain was already clearly identified. As well, as I think a couple of people have stated before me, the sacrifices made to accommodate for the somewhat shorter time frame are in the arena of the production method and the preservation and longevity of the vaccine, which is why they are using thimerosal with this vaccine when normally it is not used.

I think it makes perfect sense for Washington state to lift the thimerosal restriction in this case, because the restriction was implemented in response to concerns about autism that have been shown to be unfounded. Therefore, lifting a restriction that does nothing but placate a vocal minority in favor of increasing access to a vaccine against a disease that can cause serious health problems makes perfect sense to me.

Ashley
13 years ago

Pete received his regular Gulf War newsletter (for Marines in that war) warning against taking the H1N1 vaccine because it is tied to Gulf War Syndrome? Something in it is the same thing that caused that shit ass ailment I guess. Google this: H1N1 vaccine gulf war syndrome, and read for yourself. On another note, our Dr is only giving them to compromised kids, she told us that it is no different than any other flu, as long as you are healthy to begin with. Those things combined have us not getting them.

kakaty
13 years ago

I work at a hospital (but not in direct patient care) and they are pushing HARD for everyone to get a seasonal flu shot. I got mine the other day at a “roaming shot station” in one of the halls. They are already starting to push the H1N1 shot for when it arrives, but uhhh…I’m just not sure I want to do that. I’m in one of the “high risk” groups so the push is hard but when I read your tweet about the lifting of the limits on thimerosol and read more about that I started thinking otherwise. If I can get the mercury-free shot I think I will be more likely to do it. Same for my daughter, who is getting her seasonal flu shot on Sunday when our Ped is holding a walk-in clinic (with all thimerosol-free shots). She’s in preschool so I am concerned, but not enough to rush into it – I think for the whole family we will wait for the mercury-free shots.

christina
christina
13 years ago

also – re: sarah’s comment:
” they haven’t 100% cleared the connection of vaccine to autism”

YES THEY HAVE! numerous studies have cleared vaccines (and the mercury in vaccines) as a connection to autism!

In fact, the whole myth of a vaccine connection to autism was created by a guy in england who admitted that he had no data. he admitted he made it up. and he lost his medical license.

please get your facts straight. talk to your doctor. and don’t listen to celebrities. or bloggers. or people who comment on blogs.

Amanda
Amanda
13 years ago

My kids are 7 and 16 months. Neither has ever had a flu shot.

With the big scare this year I am considering it for all of us, but we will not get the H1N1. I just don’t trust something developed so quickly. They used to say Paxil was safe during pregnancy along with a host of other drugs and we see how well that turned out. I just don’t trust this new vaccine yet.

My biggest frustration with H1N1 is that even pediatricians are calling symptoms of regular flu the swine flu. Oh, you’ve had these sudden symptoms, you must have it. By the time the test results come back, you are over it and only then do you know for sure if you had it. I don’t understand this. They say you do, you tell everyone around you that you’ve contracted this new flu strain, then might find out a week later the diagnosis was wrong – it was the regular flu.

I don’t play into the media hype around it. I believe it’s another push from health providers to scare people. It’s a serious problem, but it’s so new, how can they be sure their vaccine protects against this particular strain? Ugh!

Beth in SF
13 years ago

Weeeeeeeell, my ped. told me to get it at least for my son, because if he got the flu (swine flu aside), he could get really sick and may require hospitalization. So, I got it for kiddo.

My friend who has a child the same age said her ped. told her it was NOT necessary, and that if the kid got the flu it would be no big deal, she’d be fine.

Pretty sure you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t and we just have to make our best judgment based gut feelings and all the research our heads can hold.

I didn’t even know about the whole mercury thing until later, I thought that was a different shot. Parenting sucks.

Annie
13 years ago

because of your comments and links on Twitter about thimerosal, I called in the local radio station (Ocala, Florida’s WIND-FM) and brought it to the attention of the listeners. I think it’s scary, and our family certainly won’t get one. They ban it even though they claim it’s safe? then bring it back? I love waffles!

Penny
13 years ago

Jess: hilarious that we are ‘conversing’ on Sundry’s blog when we live in the same city. I should just friggin’ call you.

Michelle
13 years ago

Actually there was a case in 2008 where the MMR vax was found by US federal claims court to be linked to a specific child’s autism. Wakefield isn’t the only scientist to question the link, there are some actual credible ones out there too. But, moving on…

As a pregnant woman about to move to the US from Canada, I admit I’m a leetle worried about H1N1. But not scared, per se. It’s funny that I’m a vax candidate for the exact reason that makes me hesitate to get it! This particular vax makes me nervous as it is, for all the reasons you and your commenters have already hashed out.

I don’t typically get the seasonal flu shot, either, nor do my kids. (We do vax the kids, just delayed and well-spaced, as well as selectively) I’m focusing more on proven, natural immune system boosters (echinacea, astragalus, glyconutrients, vit D, etc) and having a store of that oscillo-whatsis homeopathic on hand if we do fall ill.

I will be keeping my eye on the info about the vax to see if my opinion on getting it for the kids changes. I doubt it, and I really really doubt I’ll end up changing my mind and getting it myself.

OmegaMom
13 years ago

It may be moot; the flu is barreling through our area and my dotter has something that is sure acting like the flu but does not test positive, and is being prescribed Tamiflu.

Anyway, the issue of the thimerosol in the vaccine is because they are preparing multi-dose vials, and the thimerosol is to protect against cross-contamination from multiple needle sticks into the same vial. As others have said, it’s the same flu vaccine that is done every year; the only reason it’s rushed is because all the vaccine companies had geared up for the *expected* flu vaccine, and had to re-gear for H1N1 vaccine, too.

There’s plenty of debunking of the thimerosol-autism link available. The main one that nails it for me is that thimerosol was removed from kids’ vaccines back in 2002, but the incidence of autism has still continued to climb.

Also, for those who say H1N1 is a “mild flu”…even “regular” flu causes around 35,000 deaths per year in the U.S. The differences are (a) H1N1 is “novel”, hasn’t been around in any form similar since 1957, so most people are susceptible to it, (b) it seems to be affecting kids, teens, and young adults much worse than adults in general, whereas “regular” flu hits senior citizens hardest. The incidence of H1N1 is skyrocketing now that flu season has started; some hospitals are setting up tents outside the ER to help with the crunch, and one hospital pediatrician has said that 1/4 of all the cases in his pediatric ICU are H1N1.

So, I’d get the shot…but it’s very likely that it’ll be available too late, in reality.