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9.05.2009

Vaccine questions

I know this is a controversial subject, but I also know that most of the people around this space parent away from society's norm. My question that I would love, love, love feedback on is about the upcoming vaccination for the swine flu. Are you getting it? Are you going to have your children get it? If not, please tell why? My concern is that it is untested (goodness knows, even many of those vaccines that are tested aren't necessarily "safe"), but the thought of my little boy going through a flu, fever and weakness makes me unsure about what to do. I wouldn't normally vaccinate him for a flu, but all the hype around the swine flu definitely has me thinking.

Eventually we will all follow our own instincts, but I would love to hear whatever anyone has to say about it.

Thanks.

8 comments:

Michelle said...

Hi Genny!
Wow, this is a topic that comes up quite frequently in our house! We are big fans of Dr. Sears' suggestions in his "The Vaccine Book" regarding the alternate schedule. There was no way that our boys were going to get Hep B shots at 2 weeks old-- I think that alone is preposterous! Eventually, after much research, following our own schedule, and special ordering unbundled MMR vaccines, we have the older boys to the point that they can participate in sports and such.

Regarding the swine flu, sheesh, that's a tough one, and we've been talking and talking about it. Joshua, our 5 year old, has asthma, and we read at the CDC that that is a very high risk group for complications, so we're leaning towards him getting it, but Noah will just be one, and I think they're planning on keeping Thimerosol in it so we're not sure what to do.

I so wish there were easy answers on this, but I think that the fact that we're taking the time to make educated choices is the best thing we can do, regardless of our final decision.

Best of luck as you make your choice!!
~Michelle

Becca said...

Genny-
This question has been on my mind a lot lately, as my kids are both quite sick right now. My 2 and a half year old has really nasty croup to go along with the cold they both have--we even called 911 when she was having tons of trouble breathing yesterday. Despite the fact that all the symptoms seem to point to flu, when we went to Urgent Care, the flu test came back negative, so it seems that we might have another round of such sickness if the flu comes our way. So, I've been trying to figure out whether I want to vaccinate the kids against the flu.

Now, I should say that my husband and I are parents who do not go with the mainstream in many ways (eg. we both very equally share parenting, we cosleep on and off, I nursed my first until I got pregnant with my second, we try to feed our kids local, organic food most of the time, follow a lot of the attachment parenting ideals, etc.), but, in terms of vaccinations, we've pretty much decided to go with the mainstream. Our reasons for such will take more discussion, time, and space than makes sense here, but I feel like I should make that general disclosure.

But, the point is, after some thought and conversation, I do think we are going to vaccinate the kids. My father is a pediatrician and when he says that he thinks it's a good idea (I just had a long talk with him about it), I feel pretty confident in his advice, as he wants no harm to come to his beloved granddaughters. But this week has really helped me make my own decision--my kids are feeling really miserable and diseases that messes with the upper respiratory tract can be scary and quick. I know that there are questions about the safety of the vaccine but I know even more certainty that little kids having the flu is really scary and can be dangerous. There's where I find myself standing now (especially as the little one has just started to cough in her sleep...)

But just one more thought, as I try not to see things in just black and white...I wonder whether your getting vaccinated might give some protection for your son, given the fact that you're still nursing him? Wonder if any antibodies might be transferred--might be worth asking your healthcare provider if flu antibodies work that way (I know some are passed by breatmilk and some not). Just a random thought.

Good luck navigating this issue. I hope you all stay healthy!

-Becca

kyndale said...

No, Genny, I don't have plans to get the vaccine for me or my kids. I don't have a really solid answer to that except I really don't trust the mainstream medical community. They've let me down on so many levels. We are all very healthy. But we will see what things look like this fall and winter. What are you leaning towards?

nicola said...

yes. we decide each year with the flu vaccine, but in general, we are very pro-vaccine. so many of the illnesses these vaccines cover are no longer threats because of the vaccines. of course, i am a biologist, so it is naturally likely i would feel this way.
about it being untested...the flu vaccine is one that changes annually, with the changing flu strains. if you receive the flu vaccine annually, you are receiving a new, different vaccine every year. (it is why flu vaccines are annual.) this might help:
http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R909010900

hope school is going well!

nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

Heather said...

I have always found the issue of vaccines to be a hard one. We vaccinated my oldest child at 2 months old, against our feelings on it, and then he had a massive reaction and had to be hospitalized.

I just read a wonderful article in Living Without magazine that does point out the serious risks of children or adults with food allergies getting the swine flu or daily flu shot.

It is so hard, because we don't want anything to happen to our children, and vaccines have wiped out certain illnesses, but I just wish that there were not such huge risks involved.

Jldnrats said...

Being in the science and health-care community, I have always felt that the dangers in not getting the vaccines outweigh the dangers of getting it. We got Gianna the flu vaccine last year, but she still got sick 3 times or so last winter. Even so, we'll probably get it again this year.

Linnea said...

For us, we looked at our family and individual health to decide. We have leaned very heavily on the Dr Sears book mentioned above and are slow to vaccinate. Given the Thimerosol, newness if the vaccination, and hype around H1N1, I was already skeptical. Other factors to consider- nursing, as Becca mentioned, family exposure (ie when I was a flight attendant I was exposed to many many germs), and general health (especially lungs and food sensitivities). Also consider your lifestyle- would you be willing and able to stay at home if there is a major breakout in your area? How many children do you generally come into contact with? For us, we are in low risk categories and have decided that given other vaccination sensitivities we know our daughter has, and the low success rate of flu shots, we will not be getting the vaccination. But I can see how it's a case by case, factor by factor decision to make. Good luck!

maya | springtree road said...

i'm not planning on us getting it. we are able to stay home if there's an outbreak. we're healthy with no asthma, etc. i plan to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and nuts and beans and take my chances.