Unless you’ve been under a rock since this past summer, you have probably been bombarded by constant information (at times conflicting) regarding the H1N1 influenza. What began as a public health issue in Mexico City, has now become the hot topic of the season across the world especially in the Northern Hemisphere as we enter the Fall and Winter months. So what is a concerned parent to do? And what if you’re pregnant? Should we be concerned about the vaccine and the fact that it has come to market without all the required FDA approvals? How do we balance the risk of not vaccinating (if we choose to do that) with the risk of developing complications from this strain of influenza? And if we do vaccinate, how do we remain vigilant for potential side effects? How do we remain calm, educated and empowered through the process without falling prey to misinformation and mass hysteria.
Without a doubt, I am on the same boat. While I have never had a seasonal flu shot (my eldest daughter did receive one during her first year of life and none since then), this new strain does raise some concern with me as a mom of three young infants. And so I began researching, reading, speaking with pediatricians, virologists, nurses, integrative medicine (holistic) doctors and anyone else who claimed to be an expert on the subject. As of now, there are limited quantities of H1N1 vaccines available, but are increasing on a daily basis. Both the Nasal Spray (live) and injections are available. What is interesting, and a little disconcerting, is that members of the medical community have opposing views as to whether or not you should rush to get vaccinated. So hearing this I decided to compile a list of the Pros and Cons on each side. You’ll find at the end that there is no crystal clear answer as to what to do. You should do what you feel most comfortable with. Just remember to ask questions, research, partner with your medical provider but also remain healthily skeptical. No one cares more about the health and well being of your babies than you do! And each person is different. As Empowered Mommies, we should gather as much unbiased, fact-based information as possible to make an educated choice for our families and ourselves.
- Not enough information from the FDA. To early to start using it. Some doctors are even going as far as to tell their pharmacies not to recommend it yet. The reason behind most of those opposed? Production of the vaccine was started before the FDA had concluded their testing. All of this was done to be certain that the vaccine would be available on time to distribute to the public.
- There is even a FDA statement associated with the vaccine that states that "Clinical Studies are Ongoing" according to some doctors this can only mean that all of the evidence is not yet in.
- Skeptics are telling us that this untested vaccine is potentially dangerous and unnecessary. A version of this vaccine was administered in 1976 and caused Guillian Bar Syndrome (GBD). GBD is an autoimmune disorder which causes paralysis. The risk is about 1 in 1 million
- H1N1 in 99% of cases turns out to be no different than the regular flu with no serious complications.
- Some people have expressed concern about thimerosal for children because it has a mercury-base, but the CDC states there is no scientific evidence the preservative is harmful.
- Immunize before it causes a major pandemic across the country.
- They want to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
- This was the only way they had to get the vaccine to the public in time for the flu season.
- Some say that there "were no shortcuts" by the FDA inspectors.
- Some doctors also tell us that even though the vaccine production was speeded up, the quality of the inspections were just as thorough.
- The production of the normal seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine differ very slightly.
- It should be given to the public ASAP because children especially are at a higher risk for the H1N1 Swine Flu virus.
- Serious complications can include pneumonia, breathing complications and even death in a small number of cases. ** Note: One common theme among child deaths has been an underlying bacterial infection right after the flu which has allowed certain forms of bacteria to enter the upper respiratory system and lungs (that had been weakened by the flu virus).