Monday, October 5, 2009

To H1N1 Vaccine or Not to H1N1 Vaccine?

That is the question...

With all the hype of the Swine Flu, one can't help but be a wee bit concerned about the effects of the virus. How widespread? How Severe? How treatable?

I am not as concerned about Jonathan and I, or even Charlie and Paige, because we are all strong and healthy. But, I do worry about Anna, especially given her history with croup and increased respiratory distress with just the common cold.

But, then the reported side effects of the H1N1 vaccine do not make me overly comfortable either. So, I am stuck debating the side effects of the vaccine vs. the possibility that Anna gets a case of severe Swine Flu (unlikely, but possible).

I know what my pediatrician is going to say when I ask her at Anna's 18-month well-visit. She is going to say, if the vaccine is available, to get it for Anna, if not for the whole family. She is going to tell me that she will vaccinating her own son.

But, I am still on the fence.

I am not looking to start a heated debate about vaccines. Everyone has her own philosophy and experience regarding vaccines. We vaccinate and follow the recommended vaccination schedule. You may not, and that is fine. It is your decision and I do not judge -- so don't judge me. But, I am curious about your opinions regarding the H1N1, so please share. (Keep it nice or I will delete you! ha!)

Note: I am also fully aware that I probably need to do a lot more research before I start talking on the subject, so forgive my ignorance =)


  1. I totally feel the same way so I can't wait to see others' comments! I am getting the vaccine free through my work and I am still unsure about Addy, but out of our whole family she and Cooper are at the most risk of having major complications from the flu.

  2. I am fighting the same issue. I know medically my son's heart and lung disease definitely call for vaccinating, but with such a quickly formulated vaccine with such little testing I am unsure.
    Our pediatrician helped us understand the risks with the swine flu by explaining that it's not just the risk from the flu itself that is necessarily the most dangerous issue.
    The H1N1 virus acts like the regular flu except that it knocks down the immune system so much harder. Most of the cases of kids becoming very ill have been from secondary infection brought on by this immunosuppression.
    The predominant secondary infection is pneumonia. So if a child gets the swine flu they MUST be quarantined not only to keep from spreading the flu, but to protect themselves from outside infections.
    So.. my personal debate is how much risk is there to my son from outward infection. Can I sufficiently support his needs and protect him from germs if he were to get sick. With a house full of kids going to school everyday and being exposed to who knows what, I am not so sure we could keep outside germs completely away from him.
    Ugh.. the more I write, the more I am still unsure.

  3. I've been thinking about this myself. I don't even know what the side effects are. We'll all be getting the regular flu V. I don't know I'm really afraid of the Swine flu,I'd probably go for the V. I'll be reading your comments too.

  4. i will not be getting it for henry. i've heard from henry's pedi and a few other docs/people that the swine flu isn't any worse than the regular seasonal flu. it's just expected to be more widespread.

  5. My daughter who has DS has all of her regular vaccines but we have opted out of the flu shot each year and will definitely not be getting the H1N1 vaccine. My primary concern with it is it is a new vaccine with very little testing done to assure it's safety. Let's be honest, they rushed it out there. I prefer to have some long term effect information before we take anything. We have also personally decided that the flu (including H1N1) does not pose a serious threat to life so we opt out of it. However, when my daughter was younger we did get the regular flu shot because her health was not quite as stable at that time and we thought it would be more harmful for her to get the flu under those conditions. Now that she has a clean bill of health, even from her heart doctor, we opt out.

    I respect the right of each parent to make the decision that is in the best interest of their own child. Each one of us has to weigh the risks from each possible decision with the health and safety concerns of our own particular child in mind. I will pray that you make the best one for you and your family and especially your precious Anna.

  6. This is a link to one of our blogger buddies whose son has LOTS of 'underlying medical conditions'. It's a pretty detailed account of the information she got when she consulted her doctor, which I found helpful and interesting.

    Honestly, it feels like I get a stock "it's not that big a deal" answer whenever I ask about it with LC's specialists, but I feel like they're trying to tone down a sense of general panic, etc.

    I'm definitely still on the fence with LC, if only because she has NINE injections scheduled for October...without H1N1 being considered in the mix...If you stumble upon any good, decision-inspiring information, let me know!

  7. I'll preface this with, Dominic has a medical exemption to all vaccinations, so he definately won't be getting it.

    But even if we didn't have the medical exemption, I wouldn't get it for a number of reasons.
    - Its the only shot left that is made with Thimerosol (you can get some without, but be sure you read the package label because the majority is made with).

    - The flu doesn't scare me - I have a bunch of homeopathic tricks in my cubbards, as well as some excellent immune booster tricks. I'd rather boost his (and my) immune system so that my body can fight off any crud than vaccinate for one variety.

    - They rushed it through production and testing so quickly that I'm concerned long term effects won't be noticed til well after the flu season.

  8. p.s. anna's picture is on lc's blog today...

  9. I also really struggle with this decision. But with Parker's high PH values, and lung issues he simply wouldn't survive H1N1.

    So, I'll get him the vaccine. And pray even harder.

  10. Lori, I'm glad you started this discussion. I'm on the fence too. I have two children with serious asthma and I know getting H1N1 would be very difficult for them. It would easily become a serious respiratory problem which then turns into lots of medication, possible hospitalization, etc. but I worry about the fact that the vaccine is new, was rushed out on the market, and there is no long term data on how it will affect children. Have you made a decision yet? I have an apt. with the asthma dr. next week so I'm anxious to hear what he says.