Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post. So much to think about, and I really appreciate hearing from each of you. Commenter Phoebe mentioned that she feels people’s anecdotes help her remember information by allowing her to relate to facts on a more personal level, and—wow, yes, exactly. I tend to have a difficult time researching child-safety issues, probably because I often react so strongly to personal opinions (especially if they’re scary, if I’m being honest) and find it hard to stay objective while sussing out facts. It’s really helpful for me to hear what real people are thinking, because even with multiple conflicting points of view, I take away more jumping-off points for doing my homework than I would from simply, say, watching the news.

This whole thing makes me think about how people say to trust your gut when it comes to parenting decisions. I’m generally a fan of the gut-guide method, but sometimes it’s not really enough, you know? I mean, when I read about how pregnant women are in trials for the H1N1 vaccine right now, my gut says, whoah, they’re doing trials now but the vaccine’s going to be publicly available in a few weeks? That’s not . . . much of a trial, right? Those babies won’t even be born! And I know the flu vaccination development process is supposed to be safe and well-tested and vaccines in general are not linked to anything and thimerosol is okay and it’s all fine and dandy, but . . . well, don’t we sometimes find out things aren’t what they seem to be? I mean, now Pluto’s not a planet and the Brontosaurus is actually an Apatosaurus, what the fuck.

Anyway, my gut says: I would rather not give my children this swine flu vaccine. But my brain is doing the research, and I think we probably will anyway.

Here’s something a reader named Karoline wrote me, with regards to considering the vaccination:

1) What’s the worst that could happen?
2) What’s the best that could happen?
3) How often does 1 happen? How often does 2 happen?
4) How do I feel about that?

I think that’s a really useful tool for coming to a decision. Sometimes it’s all about doing the best you can with what you’ve got, even if you’re not completely confident in the choice.


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14 years ago

Anna, I’m sorry about your loss. I’m 7.5 weeks pregnant right now and have already had a miscarriage this year. Not after having a flu shot, but still… the idea of having one when pregnant scares me for all sorts of reasons – mercury being one of them. But, having the flu while pregnant scares the shit out of me too.

It’s a complicated decision. The media is NO help. I’m really glad to read all your comments and information. Better to make an informed decision! But it’s still tough.

14 years ago

As someone who just *had* H1N1, I would not wish it on anyone. My son got a seasonal flu shot yesterday and I will likely put him through the initial and booster for H1N1 once it’s available at the end of the month as it is running rampant in our city and schools.

To me it seems the medical community is conflicted-my chiropractor says NO NO NO but my primary care physician says let’s give it a go to protect the wee one. We’ve got doctor’s who are being told they can’t even administer the test unless the person is hospitalized with symptoms. HUH?!?! I’m fortunate enough my son and husband haven’t gotten it…yet. Maybe they’ll stay lucky and miss it but I’m going to take my chances and immunize the kiddo when I can.

14 years ago

Do your kids normally get flu shots each year? If so or if either of them have underlying health issues then by all means get them the H1N1 shot too, if not then I say trust your gut.
I have respitory and heart issues so getting the flu is at best a month long hell and at worse could be Very Grave Indeed so I’m bound and determined to snag one of the H1N1 shots or at the very least a seasonal flu shot. As for my kids, my 11 year old will probably only get a seasonal shot (I doubt there will be a wide spread swine flu outbreak in our area) and the verdict is still out on my 7th month old, somehow giving her either shot when she has zero health problems, is not in day care, ect. makes me highly uncomfortable.
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that each swine flu case which resulted in death or hospitalization, the patient had underlying health problems. This isn’t like the Spanish Flu of our history books.

"Jeremy Ottara"
14 years ago

Very great information.

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