Saturday, November 7, 2009

My 180 on the piggy flu

So, awhile back I wrote about my struggles with the silly swine flu pandemic. Well, I thought I might as well update where my thinking has evolved to on the situation.

As I said before, at first I was dead set against the vaccine for either myself or Beanie. Thought it was all a bunch of media hype, a new vaccine that was untested, etc etc. Well, I still agree that its a whole bunch of media hype (I mean, really would the public be as worried about the big scary swine flu if the media just advertised it as what it is -- another A strain of the flu?), but when the vaccine actually came out it turns out it isn't new and untested. Its the exact same flu vaccine with a different strain in it. As a pediatrician and my OB put it, every year the flu vaccine has 3 or 4 strains in it. The swine flu vaccine is just a flu vaccine with the 4th or 5th strain in it. As the pediatrician said, yea it sucks but that's what it is.

After a boatload of reading and researching (and making the decision to get the regular old flu vaccine this year) I have decided I will get the H1N1 vaccine. That is, I will if my OB ever has it available for me! I am not waiting in a hours-long line with a thousand other people trying to get it. I figure I have more chance of catching something from someone who doesn't know they're sick yet than actually getting the vaccine! We will not be getting it for Beanie, although I will admit there are times when I struggle with that decision as well. But, Beanie is otherwise healthy & we are taking precautions to stay well. I know we can't quaratine ourselves in the house for the next six months but we are doing our best to avoid crowded places & people we know are sick. We wash our hands, take our vitamins, eat well, & use hand sanitizer when we aren't right at a sink. So, we'll see. Like I said, I still struggle with this but, at this point, its not like she can get the vaccine anyways as most pediatricians don't have it yet around here.

The thing that does make me upset (and a little leary) is that, even though supposedly thimerosal free doses are available, you are hard pressed to find the vaccine that doesn't come in the multi-dose bottle that contains thimerosal. While I don't buy into the whole mercury-autism-etc hubbub, I would prefer to have a thimerosal free vaccine. I'm not sure that will be available to me though and I have decided to get it either way. I'm just confused as to why a vaccine that is in such high demand needs to be made with preservatives? I'm not knowledgable (at all!) about vaccine production so maybe there is a valid reason (if someone knows, fill me in!) but the reason that comes readily to mind is that it is probably cheaper for the manufacturers to make it that way. Or quicker? I don't know, Glenn surmised that perhaps preservative is needed because they don't know how long the vaccine will last without it, but I received a thimerosal free "regular" flu vaccine and if its the same exact vaccine then that doesn't make much sense to me.

Anyway, just thought I'd post a little update. It certainly was a struggle for me to come to a decision and I respect everyone's decision, whichever they make.

Here's a link to the article that really sealed the deal for me. I had read numerous other studies & articles, but I really respect Dr. Sears' view on vaccination (although we don't delay most vaccines) and appreciated the unbiased information he provided in this link...

(Okay, he has since posted an article about MMR, so you have to scroll down a bit to get the H1N1 info)

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