Flu Vaccine Linked to Infant Seizures?

Julie Ryan Evans

flu shotThere are some early signals that the flu vaccine used for children ages 6-23 months may be linked to an increase in febrile seizures. The CDC and FDA are still looking into the matter and haven't made any changes to the recommendation for flu vaccinations in children, but I'm still freaked out by this

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) found that children receiving the Sanofi Fluzone flu vaccine (the only one used for children ages 6-23 months) may be having more febrile seizures than those who don't.

"Data from VAERS are preliminary and serve as a sign or indication that further investigation is warranted," the FDA stated in a news release. "Further investigations are under way to assess whether there could be an association between influenza vaccination and febrile seizures, or if other factors could be involved."

They went on to say that no lasting effects have been seen in the children that experienced the seizures and that there's no change in the recommendation for children receiving the flu vaccine. But still ...

The first thing doctors will tell you about febrile seizures is they're usually completely harmless. Any parent who has witnessed one will tell you they're scary as hell, and that's not harmless to a parent's emotional well being. And is getting the flu really that much worse than enduring something like that ... not to mention any long-term effects that may be undiscovered as of yet?

It's a question every parent has to answer for herself, and this recent data doesn't make it any easier. 

I haven't given my children the flu vaccine yet this year, and I'm not sure that I will. Part of me thinks I need to because my daughter has been sick about every other day since starting preschool (I'm only slightly exaggerating). She just turned 2 though in the last week, so she's over the age limit for Fluzone, but this news doesn't make me feel much better about any of them.

As I've written about before, I don't want to be anti-vax. I want to believe in modern medicine, and I do vaccinate my children according those required for school. But I don't trust vaccinations fully either. In fact, they scare the hell out of me. So when it comes to something like an optional flu vaccine, especially one that's marred by potential problems, I'm likely to just keeping stewing about and debating over it until flu season passes.

Has your child received this vaccine? Does this news make you rethink giving it to them?

Image via futureatlas.com

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