Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oink

So I was moved to post about flu vaccines after reading this post. Except I just wrote the post in my head and didn't, you know, actually compose and post it. The post I wrote in my head was of course beautifully eloquent and masterfully argued. But here's what I'd like to say:

All three of us (me, husband, Bat Girl) have gotten the seasonal flu shot. We will be getting the H1N1 vaccine as soon as we are able. We got the seasonal shots at the beginning of October from BG's pediatrician (she only gets the thimerosal-free versions), and since she recommends spacing out all flu vaccines one month apart, BG will be getting the first dose of H1N1 in the beginning of November, and the second dose at the beginning of December. (Kids under 9 have to get 2 doses of H1N1 for it to be effective. Since she has had the seasonal flu shot before, she only needed one dose of that one.) Since she freaked out getting the seasonal shot and tried to rip the needle out of her leg, I decided to get her the nasal spray for H1N1.

I am a very big believer in flu shots. I have gotten one every year for as long as I can remember. Longtime readers may recall that I fretted a bit about whether to get a thimerosal-containing flu shot when pregnant with BG--but I went ahead and did it anyway. So there was never any question that we were getting the seasonal shot. I debated the H1N1 shot a bit, but considering that (a) I am hoping to get pregnant this flu season, (b) pregnant women and small children have had the highest fatality rates from H1N1 so far, (c) we are planning to put BG in day care, i.e. viral stewpot, 2 days a week this winter, and (d) given the demographics of our neighborhood (hippies, bobos, and non-English-speaking recent immigrants) the local vax rate will likely be quite low, I am not taking the risk of going unvaccinated. If I don't get pregnant this cycle, I will get the nasal spray when BG gets hers. If I do get pregnant (ha!) I will get the shot as soon as I possibly can.

If you are someone who has issues with vaccines in general, I totally respect that. What I have a hard time with is people who fear the H1N1 vaccine based on totally unfounded information that they picked up through rumor or on MDC. To wit:
-If you don't have a problem with seasonal flu vaccine, you shouldn't have a major problem with the H1N1 vaccine. They are made in exactly the same way--the only difference is the virus part.
-There are NO ADJUVANTS in any flu vaccines in the US. (If you're not in the US, your mileage may vary.)
-If you fear mercury in vaccines, you can get a thimerosal-free flu vaccine, either via a single-dose shot or the nasal spray (which is always mercury-free).

Here's a piece by Paul Offit (whom I know a lot of people have a problem with) explaining all of this in more detail. So if you decide not to get vaccinated--which you are totally within your rights to do--you will at least have the science straight. That is all.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Crystal R. said...

I've just never seen the need for a seasonal flu vaccine for healthy individuals. I've never gotten the vaccine and as far back as I can remember, I have never had the flu. My mother, on the other hand, gets the flu vaccine every year and also gets the flu every year...

8:15 PM  
Blogger Eva said...

I like vaccines, I just can't get a sense of how much at risk we are for me to take her in for another shot. I guess I'll ask the pediatrician. We do go out in society and everything, but I work very little in the company of humans, and my kid's not in school, and we're in a wealthy area on an island. I never get the flu vaccine for me--no particular reason--but always for my little girl. I think in Sweden they're making a big deal about getting at least 50% of the people vaccinated and I tend to respect whatever they do there. So I'll call the ped.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Thalia said...

@Eva, I don't think living in a wealthy area means you won't get the flu...

Well said, electric lady. Glad you and yours will have some protection. Not sure any of us will qualify for the vaccine but I may look into getting it done privately.

3:31 AM  
Blogger OneTiredEma said...

I just got flu shots for me and the kids yesterday. In the past I got them for Miss M (in school) but did not bother for me, but new immigrants are notorious for getting sick (different bugs here in Asia). I am unsure if the H1N1 vaccine will be widely available here; I did hear that a small amount is coming and certainly pregnant women will be ahead of the likes of me.

9:28 AM  
Blogger statia said...

I think we'll have to respectfully disagree here. I think Paul Offit has some sort of monetary incentive in his pocket (I'm sorry, but I DID work as a pharma rep for years, so I know it happens, and I would LOVE to see him injected with 10,000 shots, just to call his damn bluff).

We don't do the regular flu shot in this house. I've never in my entire life had the flu shot, I was told I had the flu once as a baby, but otherwise, have been flu free (and I say this every year, so I don't feel the need to knock on wood or anything). So there's no way we're going to be doing the H1N1. I think it's pretty suspect that a lot of states are raising the thimerosol ban for this shot.

Now, personally, I think while, yes, kid have died from H1N1, I think that the media is taking this flu strain WAY out of proportion. Yes, it's scary, but we don't always know all of the circumstances of the flu related deaths. There was the four year-old boy who died and it was left untreated, because the parents didn't think he was that bad.

The Mini goes to nursery school and I'm still taking the risk. LG is too young to get any flu shots, but we've delayed vaxing her anyway. On top of this, we actually flew last week despite the fact that it was flu season (I didn't do this on purpose, I was just an idiot and dint' even think about it until it was too late). We're all perfectly fine. I was adamant about hand washing, resting, vitamins, etc. I put LG in the sling and had my ridge hand ready to anyone that dared touch my children. It's not fool proof, but then again, neither is the vaccine.

Personally, I believe that some kids just cannot tolerate vaccinations, for whatever reason. My kid is one of them, and since neither of them are in day care, I feel perfectly OK with my decision to not get either version of the flu shot for any of us. Given that we live in a suckhole of winter weather, we'll end up being inside at home most of the winter anyway.

2:24 PM  

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