Monday, September 13, 2010

To Flu Shot Or Not To Flu Shot...

I"m stuck.

I am a big fan of the flu shot. A big fan. Preston gets it every year. And so far it has worked really well in our house. Preston has yet to catch the flu. KNOCK ON WOOD! I've gotten it the last two years and had the same experience of not catching the flu. Last year Brad got the shot and we managed to keep our entire house flu free. It was glorious.

Last year they added in the H1N1 shot. After much deliberation I decided that while I was a huge fan of the flu shot, I just didn't feel sure enough about the H1N1 shot to get it. It just wasn't for our family. I read up on it. I talked to people. I stressed about it over and over again. Feeling like I was in a losing situation. If Preston caught H1N1 I would wish he'd gotten the shot. Especially since everything I've heard about H1N1 is absolutely horrible. But on the flip side what if Preston wouldn't have gotten H1N1? I would have felt like I'd gotten him the shot for no reason and what were the possible long term side effects? I seriously went back and forth over and over again. Before finally deciding that we would just not be getting it.

This year I'm back in the exact same spot. Only this year in order to get the shot that I fully believe in, the regular flu shot, I have to also get the shot that I'm unsure of, H1N1. That's right this year they've added H1N1 to the regular flu shot. Which really puts me in quite the predicament.

Preston has a Doctor appointment tomorrow so I'll find out all of the details and whether or not it would be possible for Preston to get the flu shot without the H1N1 added in. Either way I'll get to weigh our options with the advice of our pediatrician. I know I'll feel a better after I've talked to him about our choices and pestered him with questions in hopes of deciding what is right for us this year.

I took to Facebook earlier tonight to ask for advice and thoughts from friends and family about the whole thing. I only feel more confused now. The results were so split. Many of my friends choose not to get the flu shot. Many of my friends choose to get the flu shot. I respect all (okay most, HA!) of them and really value their opinions. I was hoping it would be a little easier. Couldn't everyone just have the same answer and a perfectly logical and unarguable reasoning behind their decision? Is that too much to ask? Was it too much to hope that when I took to Facebook the answers I got would be enough to take me from undecided to positive of one way or the other?

I'm not sure what we're going to do at this point. Brad is very much against the H1N1 part of the shot, as am I. But at the same time is it worth it to get the H1N1 part of the shot in order to be covered by the rest of the vaccine? Or should I just suck it up and face the idea that we might just have to deal with the flu this year? I have no freaking idea. If only this whole grown up and parenting thing was easier.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Here's my 2 cents, as I didn't leave it on facebook and can't sleep at the moment. I'll try to give my opinion, but it's a little hard without knowing what you're worried about with the H1N1 portion of the vaccine.

The flu shot is esentially a "new" shot every year. The virus mutates and changes. The vaccine is remade each year based on the pattern of mutations and what they predict this year's virus will look like. The vaccine contains several strains of past mutations to help it's efficacy. The H1N1 shot was developed the same way as the regular flu shot, and this year is added to the strains the vaccine protects against.

Are you worried about preservatives/thimerisol? You may be able to get the flu shot without preservatives this year that include H1N1. Or, opt for the flu mist. Last year, they didn't have time to manufacture single dose vials of the H1N1 vaccine due to the high volume need. Single dose vials and flu mist don't contain thimerisol.

Lastly, my opinion on vaccinating in general. I believe that as healthy, low risk individuals, it is our civic duty to vaccinate ourselves and our families to protect the most vulnerable populations. Since I'm due at the end of October, this is utmost on my mind. We'll all be getting vaccinated (including the TDaP for adults to protect against pertussis outbreak) to protect my newborn who can't protect herself. Working with such a high risk and vulnerable population, I get vaccinated every year. How awful would it be to go to work with nothing more than a tickle in my throat and end up giving one of my patients a virus that could very well kill them? How would their parents feel if they knew the nurses taking care of their babies weren't vaccinated, protecting their tiny child, simply because they were afraid of the possible side effects?

Also, though the pandemic has "ended" the virus is still around and likely to show up some throughout the season. It was a scary virus, killing moslty people between the ages of 25 and 60, the opposite of the regular seasonal flu. Pregnant women were/are one of the highest risk groups for severe complications from the virus. It killed otherwise healthy women. It is not your typical flu virus.

So, my opinion, get the shot! Protect yourself, your family, and those who are unable to get vaccinated due to health reasons, age, etc. Especially if you want to hold/touch my baby at play dates :)