Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Swine Flu Debate

So the big buzz around the news lately is the swine flu vaccine. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and contemplating whether or not I want to give it to my family. Obviously I do not want any of us to get sick with the swine flu, but the vaccine does make me nervous. It is just so new. I have no problem with the regular flu shot and my toddler's vaccinations are all up-to-date, so why this concern?? Again, I guess the fear of the unknown. I just wish I knew more about this new vaccine. My daughter doesn't turn 2 until November and the swine flu vaccine is only given to children 2 and older so I have some time to decide, but by then flu season will be half over, so what to do? I am also weary about getting this vaccine myself considering I am pregnant and I have concerns about exposing my soon-to-be baby to something I don't know much about.

So, what are your thoughts?
Will you be getting the swine flu vaccine/give it to your children?
What do you know/have you heard about this new shot?

I know that vaccinations can be a very controversial topic, but please share your thoughts in an open and friendly manner. We really can learn so much from each other!


Megan said...

I do know the swine flu vaccine can be given to children under 2, but it has to be in the shot form, not the spray that is available in UT right now. But I too have been wondering about this topic. My doctor suggested that my 1 1/2 year old get the shot when it becomes available, but it makes me nervous.

Jared and Delia said...

Every time we have gotten sick in the last little while everyone freaks out about the swine flu. I don't know if we have had it or not, but I think the hype has been a little bit out of control. That said though, we do get the regular flu shot every year, so why should this be different??? I am just as lost and torn over this as well. I hope someone who knows more about this can comment. Please?

Jeremy and Lynsie said...

I'm a little mixed up over this issue as well. I have heard that the H1N1 vaccine is made very similarly to the seasonal flu vaccine, but still, it IS new and it does scare me a little bit.
However, since I am a health care worker AND pregnant, I'm pretty sure I will be getting the vaccine. I get exposed to so many people who are sick with who knows what every day, and I just don't want to take the chance of getting sick with H1N1 while pregnant, because it's very dangerous.
I have seen several women who are pregnant in the hospital with swine flu and it is so scary for them.
So, based on my circumstances I'm getting the vaccine, but I totally don't blame people for being weary, because I am too.

Shantel said...

I am with Megan, in Ohio, where we live, they are getting ready to give the first set of vaccines to the most at risk groups, healthcare workers and children between 6 months and 2 years, so I know they are giving it to kids younger than 2.
I personally don't know what to think about the vaccine. I wonder some times how much of our fear is from the media (thanks a lot guys). Every medical person I have talked to recommend the vaccine, so maybe I should just stop listening to the media people and trust the healthcare personnel. However, I am still apprehensive about the vaccine and am excited to hear what the everyone has to say.

Universitybabe said...

I am on the probably not get the vaccine side. Part of this is because I don't believe I can trust the things being told by either the media or the health care professionals. The guardasil vaccine that was and is being pushed so hard is still not as effective as they lead everyone to believe...My kids are all up to date on their other vaccines but It bugs me that they say this is being made the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine. Yes, H1N1 worries me, but so does exposing my children to the side effects of the vaccine which I am not convinced they have tested throughly enough to know. H1N1's first outbreak was almost a year ago and this is the first time the vaccine has been given to the general population--thanx but no thanx I'll wait a bit and see. That being said I am not saying a definate NO. Just that unless I get persuaded better I probably won't. I have heard that H1N1 is a bad flu but it's mortality statistics are quite similar to the seasonal flu.

Britta said...

What I was told about H1N1:
This flu came from the same place as the seasonal flu came from. Most of the flus originate in Africa and travel in a circle around the world, hitting Europe and then the US. This happens every single year with a new virus. The thing with H1N1 is that it jumped from Africa to the US this year, therefore not giving health officials as much warning and time to watch the virus as it usually does. This virus is no more dangerous than the other flus except for the reason that the vaccine couldn't be produced as quickly.

The vaccine was produced in the same manner as the seasonal vaccines are, just protecting people from this particular strain- which is different from the other, seasonal strain out there.

I am not going to get vaccinated but not because its dangerous or I have any question about it. I just flat out don't want to get a shot or take the time to go to the doctor. My daughter stays with me 99% of the time and I am able to monitor what contact we have with other people- especially if they are sick. I guess I'm just not scared enough of the flu to want to go through the ordeal of getting a shot. But I'm not getting the seasonal shot either.

Fisher Fam said...

I can't remember where I heard it (on the News?) that someone's Dr. reccomended not to get it now, since they really haven't tested it well enough on children? To wait for there to be more info on side effects. Has anyone else heard that? I have a 15 month appt. with my daughter here soon and I know it's going to come up.

Megan said...

My son had his 18 month check up last week, and like I mentioned above, my doctor suggested that we get him vaccinated for H1N1. My son most likely will be vaccinated, as will I. My husband's work offers free flu shots for the worker and spouse and this year they are also offering H1N1 shots. So, all members of my family will most likely be vaccinated. But, I do know that the shot form, which is the only kind that under 2 years of age can have, will not be available in UT until the beginning of November, so I'm hoping to have a little more information about the shot before anyone of use will received it.

Erin said...

We aren't getting the vaccine, or any flu vaccines. The nightly updates on the news about swine flu and which schools have kids with reported cases kind of drives me crazy, because they don't do that with the seasonal flu. I read on the CDC's website ( and it sounds like it's just a regular flu with the same risks. We'll take the normal precautions we usually do like washing hands often and being careful not to share germs. We're generally in good health so I'm not too worried. If we get sick, well that's no fun but I don't think it will be any worse than it would be with the seasonal flu. 90 percent of deaths from the swine flu occur in people older than 65. It's also worth noting that the actual flu doesn't cause deaths; it's the complications like pneumonia that will put you in the hospital. So if you do get sick, just make sure to stay hydrated and if you have any warning signs like not being able to breathe or being lethargic, see a doctor. I think the media is making a big deal out if it and scaring a lot of people who don't understand the facts. (Not that that's a reason not to vaccinate..)

I feel comfortable giving my family the usual recommended vaccines, but not the flu shot. Those change every year, and it doesn't guarantee that you won't get the flu. In fact, the one year I did get a flu shot I got so sick I had to miss an entire week of work because I couldn't get out of bed. Also, whether or not thimerosol is linked to autism, I'm uncomfortable injecting mercury into my children's bodies so I'd rather do it as little as possible. To me the benefits do not outweigh the risks, but it's a very personal decision I think every mother should learn about and make with prayer.

Alyssa Harper said...

So, asked my dad about it (he's a general surgeon) and this is his recommendation: (p.s. my son's 9 months old)

The official CDC recommendations for Flu and H1N1 vaccinations that would apply to Micah
are that he should be vaccinated (age 6 months through 18 years). Be aware though that
complications can occur with the vaccination and I'm not talking just a minor illness.
Admittedly serious reactions are rare, but when they do happen they can be quite serious.
It is a tough call, particularly where you have a very healthy young child like Micah.
Personally, I would make the call based on how much he is exposed to a "day-care
environment." If his exposure is not great, then I would probably take my chances
without it. From what I have read, it is my understanding that the H1N1 is actually less
of a threat than the regular flu.

Megan said...

There is supposed to be a good article in the Desert News today regarding H1N1 vaccines, but I couldn't find it on their website. If anybody gets a chance to read it, maybe you could post what it talks about.

JeriLynn said...

A nurse I know has had both shots and recommends them for everyone. She's not even government-run.

Tannie Datwyler said...

It seems to me that there is no hard and fast rule on flu vaccinations. You hear opposing sides even from health care professionals. Some doctors say do it!! Some say, it doesn't matter. You hear so much from the media and then you get differing opinions from friends, nurses, and doctors. Just do what feels right to you!!! As always.... :)

Jes said...

Ok...this is a HUGE debate between my family right now.
One of our Dr friends has told me he cant exactly tell us not to take it but doesnt recommend it if we dont need it (working in daycares etc) and that he wouldnt take it or let his family. (because of ingredients in it and the fact that its just new and you dont know what later effects it will have on yourself, kids, fetus' or etc later on)

I know people say that 'its made the same way the regular flu vaccine is made' and that if it ahd been done earlier it would be included with the other required vaccines... but still...Ive researched a lot on it and I dont like the sound of whats in it and not knowing for sure how the future will show the effects..
That being said, I am currently pregnant and have a 1 year old baby girl... I recognize the risks and why there is such a big push for it -especially for pregnant people and children...and many people I know have swine flu or have had it)... but I just dont have a good feeling about it and I dont think we need it so we wont be vaccinated. I stay home everyday with my daughter we rarely go to public places, and I just dont think it would be necessary in our case to need it. ..Also its good to note that the swine flu is so common (a local Dr told me this) that they arent even testing for it anymore when people come in...however yes, it can be VERY serious, but it is also easily treatable if youre smart and go in early to get checked when you or your family feels sick. (the problem is most people wait and pass it off as 'oh Im ok and it will get better tomorrow or in a few days...)

so yeah... there's my opinion, but I agree: do what you feel is right. Research for yourself, talk to people, get second opinions, pray etc...

Mom said...

Here is a link to a Deseret News article that talks specifically about the H1N1 flu and the risk to children. Be sure to read the part that tells the signs to look for in your own children if they are sick.

The difference between the H1N1 flu and the seasonal flu is primarily the people that are ending up in the ICU. It is young, healthy children who are getting sick.

Link: Danger signs of H1N1

Anonymous said...

I'm pregnant and I got the vaccine yesterday. I was on the fence about it for a while, but finally decided I was more afraid of the virus than I was of the vaccine. To each his own!

Tressa said...

Probably no one is reading these anymore, but I thought I'd post just in case since the vaccine is out now.

My son's pediatrician was very helpful in answering my questions. I've always been hesitant about the flu vaccines...I can see the need for the others because they protect against severe illnesses (polio, etc) and although being sick is no fun, I personally thought a vaccine was maybe a little extreme and unnecessary.

The Dr. explained that only 5-20% of the population get the seasonal flu, so it's a lower risk anyway. The shot is made to protect against the three strains of flu that they PREDICT will be most common (so it's an educated guess, but no guarantee). That answered my questions about that shot. Then he explained the swine flu is the same "recipe" but it is may to protect against H1N1 specifically (rather than a guess) your tried & true choc chip cookie recipe made with buttersctoch chips instead. Swine flu, he explained, is a problem not so much because it's more severe or deadly, but it spreads more rapidly because our bodies are very unfamiliar with it and have no immunity (this part may since when he explained it, but I can't remember all the terms to do it justice...something about proteins ...sorry :)). Anyway, it was predicted to effect 40% of the population (I hope I've got the right # - it's been a couple weeks), but has been exceeding expectations. His personal feeling was that vaccinating at schools would keep the spread down in communities, but that it was important for young children to receive the vaccine because of being a higher risk group.

I didn't know about the Thermisol until after this appointment though and would be interested to know more about that - if anyone is still reading.

If you do have your children vaccinated (either flu shot), they are supposed to have 2 doses 4 weeks apart if they are under 9 years and this is the first year they've had the shot.