Thursday, November 05, 2009

Swine Flu and vaccinating our children

This topic is surely on the minds of all of us these days and I think even more so if you have young children. It seems lately that there are no easy answers to many issues and of course the decision to vaccinate or not is no exception. When I first heard about H1N1, I really discounted it's ferocity. Now, after seeing many of my friend's children battling this illness, I have a very healthy respect for it. There is even one adult in my extended adoption circle who has passed away after being on a respirator for the last days of his life. He is survived by a wife and two children. Pretty scary stuff.

To complicate the decision making process is that while most have a pretty mild case of the disease there seems to be a small population of people who are at risk to become critically ill and death is a definite concern.

My first thought about vaccinating was No Way!! I will not vaccinate my children against this bug with a vaccine that has not had enough time being mass produced to allow us to know what the real downside is. Now though, after educating myself over these past months, I have changed my stand on this and so has Marc. Ethan will be vaccinated in his school over the next week or two, they just sent home the permission slips. Katie on the other hand has no access at this time, as she is in a private preschool and the health department in this area is providing it to the public schools first.

The subject of Katie vaccination is my latest dilemma. I have come to find out that the nasal swab test that is given to make the diagnosis of flu, before it is sent to the CDC for confirmation has about a 30% false negative rate. Based on that fact and also that Katie exhibited all of the troubling symptoms before she was hospitalized with Pneumonia this past May, I have a very strong suspicion that even though she tested negative for Flu that she in fact did have H1N1 and we were not aware of it. It was fast, furious and she was sicker in 24 hours than I have ever seen anyone. I have asked her pediatrician if we can do a titers (antibodies) test on her to see if she was exposed at one time before we have the opportunity to vaccinate her. Like most of you, I do not want to vaccinate my child unless I have a very real reason to do so. I should hear back with an answer in a couple of days.

One more issue in the daily onslaught of issues to grapple with. Of course, when it comes to our children the stakes are about as high as they get.

So, what are you deciding for your family?


Love Letters To China said...

Mark wants to get both kids vaccinated for each. I too am a bit on the fence regarding the H1N1, but after much research will probably agree to it. Unfortunately Natalie's pediatrician's office doesn't even have the regular flu shot and doesn't even have a date of when it will be available (how can this be when you can probably go to the corner Walgreen's and pay for one?). Liam is scheduled for the regular flu shot toward the end of the month along with the remaining vaccinations he needs. I hear of more and more cases of this horrible sickness each day. Makes me want to keep my whole family wrapped up in our safe little home for the duration of the season.

Vivian M said...

For now, we are not vaccinating. We think we may have already had the flu back in April, since we were all so sick.

Diana said...

My youngest (12) had the nasal spray at school yesterday and my oldest will get the shot at school soon. I also was a NO but the more horror stories I have heard I called my kids Dr. and he said they are recommending that they get them. My opionin is you have to TRUST someone and you should trust your Dr:)

Mary McG in TN said...

As a teacher of second graders ... most of my students have had the swine flu in the past 2 months! The children are reduced to crying as they feel so badly. If Katie's health is good I would let her weather the storm, as long as you get her the tamiflu. She would be very (in bold) sick, but would also build an immunity to the swine flu. There were 19 deaths of children in TN in one week, but those children did not see a doctor until too late. I did not get the flu as I have probably already had it ... the worst case of flu I can ever remember (at 61 years of age). Our younger teachers did get it and were out of school for almost 3 weeks (as most students were). That is what a know from the teacher stand point.

Stacey T. said...

I was really against vaccinating, then after thinking about the fact that the reason that I was against it might be because of hype in the media, I decided to talk to the pediatrician about what she thought, and what she was doing for her kids. We ended up getting the mist.

There are some really crazy misconceptions about the mist out there (like it lives in your system and you are more likely to get sick, and that your kids will keep it alive for 21 days and be contagious, spreading the H1N1). Pretty crazy stuff. Our pediatrician actually advised that it was better to get the mist, then the vaccine.

I had the shot at work (I work in healthcare) and the kdis had the mist, and none of us had ANY reaction what so ever.

Dawn said...

No we are not vaccinating. Many talks with many pediatricians and we have made our decision. It was not an easy one but one that I am at peace with.

On a very silly note I always joke with my girls that they eat far to much bacon to catch the swine flu...they must have some sort of immunity by now :o)
(Not that i am making light of this situation)

Monica said...

Katie has had the regular flu vaccine, it was mandatory for her prek. I am still on the fence about the H1N1. The last time I spoke with her doctor was a few weeks ago & she was on the fence. Neither Paul or I have had the flu vaccine. Our doctor ran out & then I got sick & have been advised not to get it yet.

Teresa said...

Because of Ethan's heart issues, I think it is a smart decision to give him the vaccine. As soon as it's available, I will be vaccinating the kids. I wasn't concerned until Jimmy's death. Additionally, I don't want to have my kids get it, be fine but infect someone else who won't be fine. The swine flu was around in the 70's and they had the vaccine then so I don't think this was a rush to create a new vaccine.

Tammie said...

After having spoken with both Dr L & my own dr, David & I decided that both Erin & I will have the vaccine. The drs are recommending the shot for anyone with a compromised immune system. That said, since I am asthmatic & Erin is considered "allergic" with more than 1 time using albuterol, we are going for it. Supposedly, the schools will be administering it as long as the parent(s) don't object.

Carol and Taylor said...

I just got the "sniff shot" for T. I had "heard the stories" and was concerned at first as well. However, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who I greatly respect, has been doing many reports on it on her noon show on MSNBC.

She can't recommend it more. I'm not trying to figure out when and where I can get mine.

T got both the H1N1 and the seasonal on the same day. No side affects at all.

Good luck with your decision.

Donna said...
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Donna said...

I'm really torn. On one hand, I'm irked that the vaccine still isn't available in our county and on the other hand, I'm relieved because it absolves me of the responsibility agreeing to get the shot.

Like you, I'm connected, through the blogging adoption community, to at least two deaths from h1n1: a baby boy age 4 and a grown man (the father you mentioned). For me, this is much too close to home so I can't just wave my hand and dismiss vaccinations. I have to really consider that it might save our life. Or not. Who knows.

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