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Swine Flu Vaccine: Will you?

With the school year around the corner, I am struck thinking about the passing of germs and viruses running rampant, as it does every year as flu season approaches.  This year, however, beyond the typical question of the flu shot "yay or nay?", I am starting to think of the H1N1/swine flu shot.  Have you discussed this with your health care practitioner?  Decided whether or not to get the swine flu vaccine?  An urbanMama sends the timely email:

I'm wondering what other families are going to do about the swine flu vaccine that's being offered this year. I've never had a flu shot, and am not too keen on the idea. But I have a new baby and a three and a half year old who is starting preschool next month. I hate the idea of all of us being sick with a highly contagious, nasty illness. I'd love to hear what other mamas are doing.

For more info on H1N1, check out the CDC's site on swine flu.  And, to find a flu clinic near you, check the American Lung Association site or Oregon's SafeNet site.

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My almost-3yr-old had pneumonia twice last season due to asthma so it is a definite yes for us. The hospitalizations and fatalities in children so far have had a significant connection to asthma and the idea of him needing a respirator is too horrible, I can't even go beyond that. If it weren't for the asthma, I don't think I'd worry too much about it.

I'm a teacher and a diabetic, so I'm getting it. I'm not sure about the kids though. Since my older one will be in preschool, he's getting it - he also gets pretty bad croup when he gets even a minor cold. I am going to request thimerosal free for him though. My younger son goes to an in house daycare where the mom is vaccinating both her children when possible and herself. So I guess I will talk to his doctor, but I'm leaning towards no for the younger one.

I have never gotten a flu shot either. But, my doc recommended that my husband and 3.5 year old and I all get the swine flu vaccine this year when it becomes available since we have a newborn in the house who is too young for the vaccine. He said he has seen 10 cases of swine flu this summer alone. And he is only one dr. in one city! I think we will be taking his advice in order to protect our baby.

Definitely! All around here as soon as it is available. My five y/o already had the flu mist for the regular flu last week. Not sure how effective the H1N1 vaccine will be, but it hopefully will offer some protection. Everyone needs to remember hand washing (or an alcohol based hand sanitizer) are the best defense, AND stay home when you are sick!

I dfinately won't be getting a vaccine for my 3 year old daughter. The rush to put out the vaccine means that there is not adequate saftey testing. In the 1970's more people died or ended up paralyzed from side effects of the rushed vaccine that was meant to battle that pandemic. I'm not willing to take that chance. We will be following a cleaner (more handwashing) routine, and will be taking extra good care of our immune systems with diet and supplements.

I'm very torn about what to do. My 4 year old has an egg allergy so she's never received a flu shot. Should I provide the flu and H1N1 to my 2 year old in hopes to protect the family? I've heard from people that the southern hemisphere cold and flu season was pretty rough (Australia and S. Africa) so I'd prefer to avoid a major illness. I'll weigh the risks and benefits and hopefully arrive at a decision I am comfortable with

We are not getting the flue or the swine flue vaccines this year. We are all healthy my daughter is almost two and has only been sick twice...ever. Next year we might get it or when she starts attending a preschool. We are also scared about the rush to market. Last last I heard it it takes several years for medicines to be put on the market so vaccines that come out this fast scare me.

New flu vaccines are released every year to account for changes in the viruses that are present in the community; the science upon which they are based is not new, so I am less concerned about the 'rush to market,' though I can empathize with that concern.

We will be getting seasonal vaccines, and H1N1 vaccines for both my children, unless our physician tells us otherwise (my kids are in the prioritized age group - when the supply increases and all prioritized groups have been vaccinated, then my husband and I will get one, also).

There will be H1N1 vaccines available that are thimerosol free, and there will be one for egg-allergic patients (FluMist).

I am tangentially involved in the state's preparedness efforts for response to H1N1, and I am very confident that they are completely in earnest about the need for this vaccine. I hope that the incidence numbers are much lower than predicted, but I have a responsibility to my family and to my employees to take every step I can to protect them. For me, that includes the vaccine.

BTW, you can learn more about the virus and vaccine and all things Flu-related at www.flu.oregon.gov, and www.flu.gov. It's a personal decision, absolutely, but I urge everyone to consider the impact on the public at large their personal decisions have in this area.

Correcting my earlier post: Flu Mist is NOT for egg-allergic patients.

We'll get it along with the regular flu shot this year. I work with tots and my daughter is in public school so this won't be the first or last time we inoculate against the flu. I can say with certainty that both of us have never had a negative reaction to a flu shot and I have definitely been more susceptible to illness the years I chose to skip it.

We will get a flu shot just like always (we have been getting yearly flu shots since we had our daughter 6 years ago) and will get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it is available to us. My husband works in a public health care setting and my child is in elementary school both of which carry a higher risk of contracting any type of flu. I am hoping that getting the flu shot will reduce the severity if we do contract the flu this winter. If the health care system is overtaxed I fear it might be more difficult to get the care we need when we need it and it would be better if we hedge our bets in favor of needing less health care rather than more.

I've never gotten the flu shot but after my last bout with the flu I thought I might consider it for this year. I do share some of Meghan's concerns about the H1N1 shot, and I'm aware of the history of the last one.

A question for those of you who have gotten the (regular) flu shot for your families: do you find that it completely protects you from getting the flu? Or do you get a mild case?

Zinemama...in reply to your question about getting the regular flu shot I have found that we have not had the full blown flu in the last 6 years in which we have gotten the flu shot. We have had illnesses (maybe 1 time per year or less) that could of been flu with symptoms including high fever, aches, pains, cough etc but the illness only lasted a few days with the worst being over with within the first couple of days and all family members did not get the illness at the same time. We did not seek medical care so not sure if it was the flu or something else that was going around. This includes me, my husband and my daughter. I was prompted to get the flu shot after suffering through the flu the year prior to having my daughter and feeling like there was no way I could be that sick and try to take care of a child at the same time.

I've never had flu shots. Neither have my kids. One of my children has a chronic illness. In the past, we've been told not to get her the flu shot. I'll have to check with her team of doctors to see if they have any new information for us.

Yes, absolutely. The first chance I get. The trails so far have been very encouraging, without any serious side effects.

And a note about our immune systems -- if we come in contact with it, we may not get the flu, but that would only be if it doesn't somehow transmit, meaning work its way into our body.

The reason this flu has such the potential for a pandemic is that our immune systems, even the strongest ones, do not have the knowledge to fight it off. So, again, it may not get into our bodies (because of hand washing, etc.) but if it does, our immune systems cannot fight it off. The only way to fight it off is to "teach" it how to, which is either to live through it or get a vaccine.

woops..trials...

Meaghan-when you say "more deaths and paralyzings," more than what?

I'm pretty sure we'll all be getting it as we can. My understanding of the H1N1 is that it is particularly troublesome because it is the type that attacks typically healthy people, which makes it of so much more concern than the usual flu, which typically healthy people get and recover from without incident. I'm not discounting the harm it causes to folks who have health impairments, I'm just commenting on one of the characteristics that makes it more concerning to me personally and to the public in general. Perhaps I understand this incorrectly? In any case, I started getting flu shots when I was pregnant and I've continued ever since. And I've given them to my children. We've all lead a pretty healthy life thus far and I believe it's partly because of that.

My family just had it. Was fairly mild for us (no secondary infections), but took a lonnnnnng time to recover (esp for me, since I'm pregnant). Do consider the impact on your family if one or more members are out of commission for 10 days (as was my husb and kid) or almost 3 wks (as I was, from fatigue). We'll get the regular flu for sure, because of the newborn.

I'll be avoiding, sadly, the usual mommy-baby stuff until later in spring, and may even limit what my older child goes to (to minimize baby's exposure in waiting rooms, w/other parents & kids, etc)

oops...we'll get the regular flu shot, hopefully not the flu! and make that, as were my husb and son...sorry for lack of proofreading

and for the poster above who asked: most yrs, when I get the flu shot, I totally avoid any bad viruses; other times, I get a mild case.

No way... Not a chance.

I've just checked with my medical office and they are not sure there will be supplies for just us normal grown-ups. My child's doctors office will have them for kids, but if you are a healthy mom (not pregnant or working in healthcare) with a kid older than 6 months you may not be able to get one. Any one have different info?

I'm not decided but am leaning toward it since I'm a teacher and my 2 yo just started a new daycare--so lots of new germs for his body to deal with. I'll talk to our dr and keep gathering info... I'm also a little concerned with the speed in which this had come to market, but I'm also freaked out by the unknown severity/fatality rates of this flu, since I feel like we have a good chance of catching it at some point. In any case, we'll take all preventive measures (handwashing, diet, avoiding public places, etc)

MomOfAlmostTwo: you said you just had it; do you mean the vaccine or the flu?

zinemama: I've had regular flu shots the past few yrs, as has my husband and 5 yo, and we've never had the flu at all (although when the 5 yo was younger she would occasionally get a 24-48hr fever).

I'm not sure about the flu shot - I work at a big company and since starting here I've gotten sicker than I've ever been in my life. You can almost watch the flu go up and down the cubicle aisles. I wonder if I might get the shot, just to protect my family.

I'm also looking in to Vitamin D research --I've heard some trustworthy sources profess the importance of Vitamin D in fighting off flu. If anyone has any info on Vit D I'm all ears.

Here's one site I've found but I haven't had time to research who is supporting the site -- so I'm not sure how trustworthy the info is

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

Emily: we had the actual flu, not the vaccine. It was disruptive & we felt icky, for sure, but we've all been much more ill. Full disclosure, however: none of us struggles w/asthma or bronchial issues or immune system disorders or other chronic conditions, none of us smokes, none of us is morbidly obese (all these are risk factors for serious complications).

Kristi: you're correct, there won't be enough H1N1 to go 'round to not-at-risk adults who have older toddlers/kids.

please read this article linked below regarding swine flu and the vaccine. "Despite years of warnings by public interest organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association and the Humane Society of the U.S., earlier this year, drugged-out pigs and chickens on intensive confinement factory farms have incubated a highly infectious H1N1 virus that set off a global pandemic."

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27144

thanks,
sarah

I have a 4 mo old who will be 6 mo when flu season starts. Her pediatrician and I are taking a wait and see approach to see how the vaccine plays out in the next couple of months. Right now I am leaning toward giving her the shot even though I have never had one, not even when I was pregnant. My husband works with the public and I'm more worried what he might pick up at work, and we can't be shut-ins untill flu saeson is over!

i absolutely refuse to give into the hype.

i believe in mostly raw, organic whole foods, enriched by whole food supplements (since our soils are depleted) to build immunity. my child has not been vaxed nor will we consider it unless we travel out of country. he never eats meat, packaged/processed foods, soy, wheat (unless sprouted), dairy unless its raw.

here is a good immunity list:

-oil or oregano
-immunity teas
-collodial silver
-probiotics (non-dairy based)
-green juices
-whole food vitamin C
-medicinal mushrooms
-miso soup
-omega 3 oils
-essential oils (externally)
-garlic onion and ginger
(thanks to Laura Bruno for this list)

p.s. we Completely AVOID dairy if there is even a chance of him being sick.

We've done the research and will use tried and true cold and flu prevention methods this year. I'm on the fence with elective vaccines anyway and the risks with this new vaccine seem to high for us.

Our family is going to be traveling this September and then I am traveling to Thailand in October. I will be getting both the flu and H1N1 as soon as I can due to my asthma and long plane trips. The last thing I want is to get this thing and bring it home to my 2yr old. My son has gotten the flu shot in the past but I'm not sure about the H1N1 for this year.

Yes! My family will be getting the H1N1 vaccine if available. I am pregnant; due the end of October, we have a two year old that will be starting preschool soon, and my husband works in a jail.

A friend of mine from high school recently died from complications of H1N1...she was a healthy 30 year old.

Has anyone heard any possible negative side effects of getting a flu shot while pregnant? I am currently 5 months along, but got a terrible flu two years ago and don't want to have a repeat this year. I have never had a flu shot.

Is anyone a little worried that there is NO recourse should something happen to you or your loved ones due to the vaccine? The Dept of Health and Human Services had given swine flu vaccine makers immunity against any recourse from the vaccine's users in order to speed the development of the drug along.

I hate to be totally paranoid and I am pregnant so I am doubly concerned.

Any thoughts?

We're on the fence. None of us have had flu shots before but my concern this year is that we'll have a newborn in the house.

I'm with you, Sue. The pharmaceutical companies have just been given a get out of jail free card. It just doesn't seem right to me. My 1 year old will not be getting the H1N1 vax. I don't care if I have to keep us locked up in the house for a couple of months, I'm not letting my baby be a guinea pig for the pharmaceutical companies.

Sue - where do you get your info from? I would like to make an informed decision and find your input on vaccine makers getting immunity quite interesting. I'd like to learn more about that...

A friend who is actually a drug rep. You can google it though.

No, none of us are immunocompromised and for us the potential benefits don't outweigh the inherent risk of this rather experimental and rushed vaccine.

I am 10 weeks pregnant and have a toddler in day care and work for the public, so I am not in a position to chance it. I plan on getting it at the end of October. As this is based on the regular flu shot- I'm not as worried about the newness of the vaccine as I would if they created it from a brand new process.

I don't know!!
I began vaccinating my boy on a "relaxed schedule" opting for some and not others. Then he had a bad reaction to one and it scared me so much that I realized I wasn't comfortable with the possibility of severe side effects; I've opted to take extra precautions in keeping our immunities strong...
The swine flu sounds bad though, and I ask you all this:

For those of you who are planning to get the H1N1 vaccine (and/or other flu shots), do you also vaccinate your kids for other things?

Those of you who aren't sure if you'll give it, or for sure aren't giving it do you normally vaccinate your kids?

I'm wondering because some people use all vaccines, and some none, but are there some of you who don't normally vaccinate but are going to use the H1N1 vaccine?

I'm getting it, as I have asthma. I will be going onto a daily medicine for my asthma too which I don't normally do, but which does protect me from asthma flareups due to seasonal sicknesses.

I've already had talks with my son about the importance of hand washing this year. I might get it for him as well.

I am also going to stock up the house with stuff for sickness (water bottles for his bed, those flu pop-sickles, easy for an 8 year old to make food) because if I do get sick anyways I want to be sure he could take care of himself ok. I've had influenza before (caught it from my parents who had the flu vaccine and just seemed to have a cold), and even normal flu is just much more serious then what we typically call 'flu'.

Our pediatrician recommends the regular flu vaccine and waiting on the H1N1. She believes it was rushed to market and wants to make sure there aren't a lot of side effects and negative reactions. With that being said, we selectively and delay vaccinate our kids, and I am going to go ahead and get them the regular flu vaccine this year. Me too, and I haven't gotten a flu shot in years, not even while I was pregnant.

To answer your question Lesley, we have only given our daughter 3 round of dtap vaccine so far and she is nearly three. But I will likely get her the swine flu vaccine depending on what her provider recommends. My husband and myself will also be getting it and the regular flu vaccine. We have a new baby and are just at our limit right now with stress. I do not want any of us to contract the flu this winter, especially my little one. Plus my husband earns the money but if he doesn't work he doesn't get paid, so if he had o take a few weeks off that would be a serious problem for us financially. He works with the public in health care amy daughter is in preschool, so we get a lot of germs brought home. My thinking about vaccines has shifted since reading The Vaccine Book from one of semi-informed fear to more of a weighing of costs vs. benefits of any particular vaccine. Definitely a complicated issue.

Kim in regard to
"Meaghan-when you say "more deaths and paralyzings," more than what?"

I believe she is referring to the 1976 swine flue vaccines that may or may not have increase the chance for Guillain-Barre

http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2009/09/neurologists_urged_to_watch_fo.html

Also for those asking about pregnancy and regular flue shots my mid-wife recommended that I get a "preservative free" one only when I was preggo 3 years ago

This is from Dr. Mercola's website. I would encourage anyone who is interested in this topic to read the full article...

According to a recent Fox News poll, the majority of people in the US now believe the swine flu vaccine may be deadlier than the actual virus.

Additionally, there is more good news when it comes to what health care professionals believe. Research published in the August 25 issue of the British Medical Journal reveals that more than half of doctors and nurses in public hospitals would also refuse the H1N1 vaccine, due to concerns about side effects and doubts about its efficacy.

New Potential Health Risks of the Swine Flu Vaccine Emerge

Just last week I reported on the confidential correspondence between the British Health Protection Agency and 600 neurologists, warning them to be on the lookout for cases of Guillain- Barré Syndrome once the swine flu vaccine campaign begins.

I’ve published earlier articles about some of the more dangerous ingredients in this vaccine, such as mercury, and squalene, which has been linked to the development of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Now, German lung specialist Wolfgang Wodarg has come out about even more potential health risks associated with the swine flu vaccine. Interestingly, Dr. Wodarg also holds political office, as the chairman of the health committee in the German parliament and European Council.

According to Dr. Wodarg, the swine flu vaccine contains animal cancer cells, and there’s no data indicating whether or not this may cause an allergic reaction when injected.

It also raises questions about the risk of contracting cancer.

Since I work in home health care, I will be getting both flu vaccines this year. For our nine year old, I am thinking to get a recommendation for one only from his pediatrician and hope that he doesn't get the other flu. I'll also use foods, supplements and habits that support prevention and a strong immune system.

We both got the flu last year, were not vaccinated, and while neither of us required hospitalization, we both were quite sick and had a recuperation of a couple of weeks each.

I have a 3 month old baby. We have not vaccinated him for anything yet- he is actually still too small for any flu vaccine right now. My partner and I have never gotten flu shots but think we will get at least regular flu shots this week. I don't know what is the right thing to do for this flu? I got the regular flu last year when I was pregnant and it was awful. I am just scared about such a little baby being exposed to the flu. But I am also concerned about reactions to vaccines, especially without much time to do trials.

Dear sir/mz

I Have information for you about all flu,including swine flu&avainz flu

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We are still haven't decided what we are going to do about the swine flu vaccine and the regular seasonal flu vaccine. Unfortunately, the information keeps getting more complicated.

The latest is that some Canadian provinces are suspending the seasonal flu vaccinations because it may make folks more susceptible to catching H1N1:

http://bit.ly/VqHJg

Why aren't these things ever simple?

We did a show on this a few weeks ago where we interviewed Dr. Bob Sears. He has a lot of interesting information to share. I personally am not getting the vaccination for either of my boys. The virus has been downgraded and after the interview with Dr. Bob (where he said it is up to each family) I decided that I for sure didn't want to do it. My husband isn't totally convinced but I think as we continue to talk he will be.

We have waffled a bit on this one. Apart from getting a really uncomfortable illness, I am concerned about the issue of having H1N1 alongside an underlying condition.

I have an autoimmune thyroid disease called Hashimoto's that is easily treatable. I also have Celiac disease. My husband has Colitis. All are autoimmune diseases that were diagnosed at the age of 33. That said, who knows what kind of autoimmune issues our son has at 2.5 years. Symptoms sometimes don't show up for years.

After reading up on the make up of the vaccine, we decided to get it. I don't know what else his little body is fighting against yet (we do eliminate most grains, all gluten, and all dairy), so I'm going to take this step to reduce the odds that his body will have to fight off one more thing.

Also, this isn't just about him. It is about the people he interacts with every day. He might have the germ, not get sick, but give it to a pregnant mama who does get sick. I care about my community enough to take this leap.

i am torn on this issue. i am scared to have my 3 year old son get the h1n1 due to the fact that they came out with it soo hastily, but am more scared to NOT have him vaccinated. so i am leaning towards YES.

all 3 of us got the regular flu shot (flu mist for 3 year old). the guy giving the shot explained that the shot will not necessarily prevent you from getting the flu, but your body will develop more immunities to more strains and that this is a LIFE LONG immunity. he pushed that it is a good idea to get the shots every year. he explained that is why younger people are getting h1n1 (less time living to develop immunities) and old people (old fashioned "i dont need flu shot" attitudes).

for those of you who are concerned about the THIOMERSAL in the vaccine...

i just spoke with the advise nurse. she said there will be two types to administer the vaccine: 1) a one-time H1N1 vaccine (mist) and 2) a two-time H1N1 vaccine (shot). she explained that the one-time mist does NOT contain thimerisol, because the thimerisol is a preservative...only needed for the shot version.

check with your pediatricians. looks like there might be options.

Unfortunately, we have a family friend in Washington with a 4 year old daughter in ICU right now with H1N1 flu and pneumonia. She may not make it. She has always been a healthy sturdy little girl with no underlying health problems and this has been a devastating situation for everyone. Even if/when she recovers, this is nothing you want to go through.

This greatly affected our own decision to get the vaccine. Our children received the H1N1 mist today. If we notice any ill effects from this I'll report back here to let you know.

My son, age 3 and I have already received seasonal flu shot. I am five months pregnancy and have a toddler with several health issues. We are just waiting to find someone with the H1N1 vaccine. Now the doctor's office is saying my husband must go both vaccines too.

We need the H1N1 shot (not the mist due to other health conditions). I heard Oregon finally has some shots but I can't find them- I've been on the phone all morning trying to find a clinic with them. If anyone has located the H1N1 shot I'd love to know where! Thanks! We are on the waiting list at our pediatrician's office but they don't have the shot yet.

One of the many things I don't like about pandemic flu is that, unlike seasonal flu, children and young adults have the highest mortality. So yes, we're vaccinating the kids against H1N1 and will also get the vaccine ourselves. And we'll get the seasonal flu shot as well.

We're on a relaxed immunization schedule for our toddler. I think this is a whole other kettle of fish.

KP, I think Multnomah County's pretty much out. There are shortages nationally, but supplies are expected to increase in a few weeks.

Preggo mama here looking for the H1N1. Kiddos are getting it Wednesday but the Ped will not do me. I cannot find it anywhere, any ideas?

Sue,
try the WIC location at SE 102nd and Glisan on 10/27. And ask your OB; pregnant women are definitely high on the priority list; if you're infected they'll want to quarantine you from your baby! If your OB isn't giving it, ask who they are referring their pregnant patients to.

Yes, the WIC clinic in the Gateway area has the H1N1 vaccines for pregnant women and kids under age 5, both flu-mist and the injection shot. I took my 4-yr-old son to the clinic Monday morning (Oct. 26) and we were in and out in less than 20 minutes, no appointment, free of charge. I heard they are offering the vaccine weekdays from 9-11am, but call ahead to make sure they still have it.

I'm pregnant too (due December 27) and haven't had the h1n1 shot. My 3-year-old daughter hasn't either. We were planning for at least my husband, who is an elementary music teacher, to get the shot, since my daughter and I are both at home all the time (I work freelance, and she doesn't go to preschool). But of course, the shot isn't available to him yet. Anyway, I have been reading, discussing, listening, researching all things h1n1 for the last couple of months, and am leaning toward NOT getting the shot for me or my kid, although I am very uneasy about both the vaccine AND the swine flu. I am not at all comfortable with the h1n1 vaccine product inserts I have read (e.g., Novartis), which contain disclaimers stating that safety and efficacy has not yet been established for pregnant women, fetuses, and children under 4 years of age. My OB at Kaiser said, "Well, they HAVE to say that..." But c'mon, that's not supposed to worry the heck out of me?? I have gone back and forth between feeling like (a) this swine flu is really a lot more scary than the regular seasonal flu, and we really are at much greater risk of serious illness, and (b) this swine flu is not much more of a risk than seasonal flu---in which case, I would not get the vaccine, because I do not fear the flu, even though I realize that healthy people sometimes die from complications. I don't know...I am so tired of worrying about this, and almost wish I felt more polarized on the subject, but I'm somewhere in the middle. Does anyone else feel the same way? (As for my daughter's other vaccines, she's had everything but chicken pox vaccine, pretty much, but all were given to her on a delayed schedule, and spaced out a bit.)

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