Swine Flu Vaccine: Another Mom's Take

swine flu guide

I'm asking CafeMoms to talk about whether or not their family will receive the H1N1 vaccine to prevent the swine flu. Today, Science_Spot shares her opinion: Although she is pro-vaccine, she will not get the H1N1 vaccine. And, her reasons have nothing to do with its safety...


CafeMom: Will you or your children be getting the swine flu vaccine?

If I was convinced it worked well and the threat of death from the H1N1 flu was serious enough, we would all line up to get it. This is because I know how vaccines work, and I want to do what is best for the health of myself and my children. My concerns are more in line with whether this particular vaccine works, not the safety.  I am not convinced there is a high enough probability of the vaccine working as it should. This opinion is based on the immunogenicity information provided in the package insert as well as the fact the manufacturers were rushed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to get it into production and had to use a less desirable antigen, which now requires two injections instead of the usual single injection. Who knows if they will decide three injections are needed? I am pro-vaccine but not just ANY vaccine they whip up at a moment's notice. I am not convinced this one works well.

Lots of moms and pregnant women are terrified by recent news reports of deaths of pregnant women and children from the swine flu and, therefore, are considering getting the H1N1 vaccine. Do you think it's difficult to make a smart decision when there's so much hysteria surrounding this issue?
I absolutely think it is hard to make a decision with the spin the news puts on things, the agenda the CDC pushes and all the Web sites out there that are anti-vaccine in general. I know there are a lot of moms that don't know what to believe. Reading random information on the subject, much of which has questionable accuracy just makes things worse. My advice is to look to a variety of sources and spend the time to understand what you are reading and evaluate the accuracy based on the source and your personal knowledge.

If a mom is on the fence about whether or not she or her children should receive the vaccine, where could she go to get good information?

I strongly suggest starting with your family doctor. This is the person you are trusting with your health, and if you don't agree on principles, such as vaccination schedules, health habits, etc., then you need a new doctor! You should talk to anyone else involved in rearing your children, such as grandparents and spouse because this will open a discussion and learning session for you both.

You can also reach out to groups on CafeMom that are not pushing an agenda, but rather just provide information (such as The Science Spot).  I have posted some information in my past blog posts, and one of them aims at helping you make a decision based on the facts. Here are some recent journal posts I have written on the topic:

The next step I would suggest is to check out what other sites are saying about the issues of efficacy (how well the vaccine works) and safety.  Understand that going to a site like Natural News is going to be very anti-vaccine, while the CDC is very pro-vaccine. There is still some good information from each site, despite the fact they are at odds fundamentally. In addition, they both provide some good thinking points to start your decision process.

In a thinking session with my husband, I developed this list of questions you may want to answer for yourself in order help you make this important decision.

  1. Do you understand how vaccines work (immunologically)?
  2. Do you approve of vaccination in general?
  3. Do you and your family usually receive a seasonal flu shot each year?
  4. Has anyone in your family had a reaction to any vaccine?
  5. What do you believe are your chances of coming into contact with the H1N1 virus?
  6. If you do get the H1N1 virus in your family, what do you believe the chances are that it will be a very serious infection?
  7. Do you think you are more likely to have a vaccine reaction or more likely to get the H1N1 virus?
  8. Do you think this year's H1N1 pandemic could turn extremely deadly like the Spanish Flu of 1917?
  9. Have you ever read about the Spanish Flu of 1917?
  10. What are your concerns with getting the H1N1 vaccine?

Any other advice? 

There are many ways to protect yourself from infectious diseases. Look into cleaning methods for both your body and surfaces in your home (see my post How to Kill a Virus). Keep good general health. Eat well. Practice good hygiene and TEACH YOUR KIDS how and why!! 

Remember you have the right to decide how you will take care of your family. You may need help in making the decision, and no one has the right answer for everyone. Not CafeMom group owners. Not the CDC. Not your doctor. Not me. Knowledge is power!! Find the knowledge and keep your power.

Regarding the health care workers being forced to get the H1N1 vaccine: I am sorry, but I side with the employer on this one. The job of hospital administrators is to protect their patients, and even if this vaccine only works half the time, it is more protective to the patients than if it wasn't used. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is tasked with protecting the employees from unsafe workplace practices, and because no one has proven vaccination as unsafe for adults, it is not likely they will step in to assist the protesters. My advise is to take the injections, not the mist.

Thank you to Science_Spot for sharing this information with us!

Will you be geting the H1N1 vaccine?


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