Shot Up

So it’s good to know that I’m not alone in my blogger flu. Well, actually it’s not good to know…I do feel bad for all of you who are also suffering, and I’m sorry you’re in poor company with me. Here’s hoping there is a cure for us soon.

Moving on to a different sort of flu: have you received your flu shot yet? Last week my hospital offered the seasonal flu shot for all employees. Some hospitals in our area have mandated the flu shot – as in, if you don’t get the shot or have a medical/religious reason as to why you’re not getting it, punishment will be enacted. I heard that one hospital in Cincinnati is mandating it with a threat of job loss for not complying. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus told their employees that if they don’t get the shot, they’ll lose any chance at bonuses or raises this year. I didn’t have quite that kind of pressure – we simply had to sign a form if we refused the shot.

Of course, I took the shot. I’m a nurse, in direct contact with patients who are very vulnerable. How could I not take the shot? It’s my job to keep them healthy.

And then on Thursday, I was told about an H1N1 shot clinic for healthcare employees while at work. My co-workers and I all went to the clinic after our shift and rolled up our sleeves. Again, it wasn’t mandated, but I work around pregnant women – one of the highest risk groups for swine flu. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually it does become mandated for labor nurses.

My general position on vaccinations is wobbly at best. Cordy has autism, and my memories of when she started to turn inward generally focus on that time around her big set of shots. There’s absolutely no proof, of course, and I would never state that the vaccines caused her autism. I know the good the vaccines have accomplished – you rarely see children suffering from polio or measles or dying from meningitis today.

However, simple physiology tells me that it’s a stress on the immune system to inject a child with 8 different viruses and expect the body to not freak out at trying to build 8 antibodies at the same time.

So my position is one of caution. Mira will get all of her necessary vaccinations, but they are delayed. She’s caught up to the standard 1 year old schedule at this point. Everything is spaced out to put less stress on her, and as a result, we’re not seeing the fevers and lethargy after a shot that we saw with Cordy. Cordy is also now on a delayed and spaced out schedule. I don’t have a problem with making more doctor visits for vaccinations.

But what about the flu shot? Cordy got a flu shot with her first MMR when she was 15 months old, and she was miserable with a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea from that visit. Since then, neither of them has had a flu shot. And the H1N1 shot (at this time) does contain thimerisol.

My own personal preference is that Cordy and Mira will not get the seasonal flu shot because the they aren’t the high-risk group for seasonal flu. I am, however, strongly considering the H1N1 vaccine for each of them. Assuming they don’t get the flu while waiting for our area to have enough of the vaccine, of course.

The number of children who have died from swine flu is already too high for me, and even those with milder cases have still been miserable for days. And despite trying to teach my girls to be civilized, I’ve seen the personal hygiene habits of children their age: it would make a microbiologist pale and nauseous. If anyone knows how to keep a two year old from putting her fingers in her mouth, I’m willing to pay cash for that secret.

What about you? Are you getting either flu shot for your children? Is the flu already impacting your city?

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Comments

  1. I’ve never had a flu shot before, and probably won’t get any this flu season either. Granted, my immune system isn’t compromised and I’m not working with people whose immune systems are compromised, so if that were any different I’d reconsider not getting the shot.

  2. My parents vaccinated me as a kid, but I think the last thing I got was a Hep-Something booster. I’ve never actually had a flu shot.

    I’m one of those people with a Terminator immune system. I’ll get a cold and be better in 2 days, max, where other people are down for the count for a week. I haven’t had the flu in…well, I don’t remember the last time I had it. *knocks VIGOROUSLY on wood*

    I also think the hype over swine flu is worse than the flu itself. A lot of people are turning into an awesome breed of hypochondriac. The minute they have flu like symptoms, “ZOMG, ITS SWINE FLU.” Its cold and flu season, people. Calm the eff down.

    Now, in the case of health care workers especially those in vulnerable sectors like pediatrics or geriatrics, I understand its a different ball game. But for myself, a 20-something, healthy person…I won’t be getting shots.

  3. We live in Worthington. My youngest kid’s school is the one with absence rates that hovered around 43% last week. Much of what the kids had was H1N1. I presume, based on my youngest two symptoms when they were sick, that they had H1N1. They were diagnosed with flu, but doctors in our area, even at Childrens, are not testing to see which strain of flu it is. I wish I had insisted on getting them tested, it might help make up my mind. Maybe not though, the doctor at Childrens told us that the test is only 50% accurate, so it could be negative and they could still have it.

    Since I’m not 100% sure, more like 98%…that 2% doubt get awfully loud when I hear stories like the 14 year old who died two weeks ago.

    At this point, I will not be vaccinating my kids. I reserve the right to change my mind, awful as this sounds, if the death rates start climbing. It’s so hard to KNOW the right thing to do.

  4. I’ve gotten the flu already this year, just two weeks ago actually. My son (10 months old) has had it too, but my husband has been vaccinated.

    My son’s ped has recommended it, but it’s a little too late since he’s already gotten sick.

    The H1N1, on the other hand, hasn’t gotten much news around here. My son’s ped office is offering the vaccine starting November, I believe.

  5. I got the flu shot for both myself and my daughter. I’m a kidney transplant recipient, so my daughter couldn’t get the FluMist.

    As far as H1N1, I’m probably going to get it myself (see: kidney transplant/immunocompromised) but at this point I don’t plan for my daughter to get it, mainly because–and, well, like Mom24 said, I might change my mind–because she’s only 7 and thus has to get TWO shots. She was a real trooper for her seasonal vaccination, but I don’t want to push it.

    That said, even being immunocompromised, I don’t think I’m in the “get the vaccine first” category, so I’m going to have to see WHEN I could get it. As far as I know, it’s not available around here yet.

  6. The Middle Child has asthma and Hubby has a heart condition, so we all get, and have gotten this year, the seasonal flu shot.

    On the other hand, I have MAJOR reservations about the H1N1 shots. The Baby is under 2 yo, so he can’t get it. The other two both have the aforementioned asthma (the Oldest has allergy-related asthma), so they can’t get the Flumist. We don’t even have it available in our area anyway, but I’m concerned that not enough research has been done, that they’ve rushed it too much. The media is NOT helping, hyping it left and right while they know most of us don’t have access to the vaccine yet.

    I just don’t know… and until it’s available, it’s not a decision I need to make.

  7. Work is saying either get both shots or wear a mask from now until April. If you won’t do either, you don’t work, i.e., you’re out. So far only a few people have declined, mostly for medical reasons (allergies).

  8. Motherhood Uncensored says:

    My husband keeps asking me about it since I’m guessing that’s all they are hearing about over there.

    My ped is not giving the swine flu vax or flumist. We’re in a position where my older kids could get the mist, but if they get the flu from it, then we’ve got Margot at home (1) who can’t get anything yet.

    I’d strongly consider the H1N1 vaccine if it was around yet, but I don’t think it’s here yet.

  9. I’ve read that the thermisol in the H1N1 shot is less than what is in a tuna sandwich. It’s also been more heavily tested than what the regular flu shot gets annualy.
    That all being said I’m not getting either, neither is my baby. I am pregnant.
    I do take precautions though. We eat a clean diet and I do what I can to prevent the flu with natural means (elderberries and coconut oil are some ways, I’m totally a hippy, but there is info out there).
    I have a similar vax routine for my daughter, everything is spaced so that her perfect immune system isn’t stressed.

  10. My 4 year old daughter just received her first dose of Flumist a week ago, since then my extended family w/8 kids has been diagnosed with h1n1, my bf’s 2 out of 3 kids are currently fighting it. I am glad I made the decision I did.

  11. The only year the kids & I got the flu shot, we all got the flu. I refuse to get it or the H1N1 shots for any of us. Too little information for my liking. It’s all free here, thanks to the government, but I still say no way.
    If, when I am a nurse, I’m mandated, I guess I’ll have no choice, but until then, I’ll continue washing hands, etc.

  12. I read this story in Wired this morning, which has a pretty strong pro-vac perspective:

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/ff_waronscience

    For the first 3 winters of my son’s life, I got the flu shot and passed it on through nursing. I got him his first flu shot (nasal mist)this year and he had no issues. I will get him the H1N1 vac when it becomes available. The CDC web site says that the nasal mist (and most of the needle vaccination formulas) do not contain thimerosal.

  13. I missed the special on TV about the shot the other day … but NO mine are NOT getting the H1N1 … my doctors (4) in our peds office all feel strongly that it has NOT been tested far enough and that the H1N1 is NOT as bad as the TV and government made it out to be … people dye of the regular ole flu yearly and no one if freaking about it … they both did get flu shots, but not the H1N1. I know that it is a hard decision for EVERYONE and I pray that I am doign the right thing! I have moved both children to a extend shot schedule … I agree with you that it is TOO much on their bodies and that it can not be good!

  14. After getting the flu two years in a row, I’ve been getting a flu shot every year. Now that I know I also have an auto-immune disease, it only makes sense to protect myself when I’m more at risk. My husband is required to get them through the military.

    Cambry has gotten a flu shot every year except last year (and that was only because we were busy and forgot). I know the terrible sickness that comes with the flu and can’t bear to see her go through that. She also has a higher risk because of having RSV/pneumonia. She is very susceptible to respiratory junk.

    That having been said, she spent last weekend with my parents who both came down with the swine flu during that time. Miraculously, she didn’t come down with it. She got sick, but tested negative for all types of flu. She hasn’t had her shot yet, so that was just a miracle for us.

    All that loooong comment to say that we will all be getting flu shots this year!

  15. As a side comment: the military makes my husband get FluMist and every year that he gets it, I get sick. My doctor said it’s because of my weakened immune system and now my husband has to demand a shot from the military.

    And as for H1N1: I think it’s all hype. It’s no worse than the regular flu, but it’s been escalated because of the media. We’re not getting that shot because we’ve already been exposed to it and managed to dodge the bullet. I might be eating those words soon…

  16. We always get flu shots at our house because of asthma and febrile seizures. My little guy is getting his next week. The rest of us had them at the end of August and start of September. It took all this time to get the preservative free one in for my most vulnerable kiddo. Hubby works in a hospital and in our state all people working within them are mandated to get flu and H1N1 vaccines (although temporary court order stopping that for now).

    Three weeks ago I was sick. It spiraled quickly and I had a fever for over a week, cough that remains thanks to my asthma. No confirmation, but doctor is 99% sure I had H1N1 given all of my symptoms (plus I was in the ER two days earlier for son’s head injury). She feared my little guy would get it and sure enough he did. He went to sleep that night perfectly fine. Just four hours later he was gasping for air, feverish and a generalized mess. We saw first hand how this flu hits kids fast and furious. Thank goodness we had Tamiflu and it did a great job for him.

    Now I am waiting to get my older son (6) the H1N1 vaccine since he has bad asthma. Not sure what they will do about the two of us that are not confirmed.

  17. MN RN Mom says:

    I get and have gotten the flu shot every year due to my asthma and my husband does as well. My 4 yr old cannot as she is allergic to eggs, she can’t get the H1N1 version either, same reason. As I am now an RN, I will be getting the H1N1 likely, although I will request the injection over the mist due to my asthma. That is, if the H1N1 vaccine actually comes out this season *sigh*.
    One of my daycare lady’s kids got H1N1 (unconfirmed) last wk so I had to voluntarily pull my daughter from daycare for a week to protect her. It may be no worse than a regular flu for some, but my daughter had a febrile seizure this spring…..do NOT want a repeat of that!

  18. I carefully read everyone’s comments, and I am still not sure what to do about the vaccine. The possibility of the flu has me on pins and needles; my kids have asthma. On the other hand, I took my 13-year-old in for her boosters, she got five shots that day, and was so sick; I got out of practice and should have spaced them out. So I feel like her immune system needs a break to recover. I’ve usually gotten the seasonal flu shot, with mixed results. some years I get the flu, some not. I am very concerned about this fast-tracked vaccine. The stories of children dying break my heart. I know all of us are in “protection” mode, and want to make the correct decision. So I’ll keep listening to everyone’s comments and see if I can come up with an answer. If you should come down with the flu or flu symptoms, you can go here and take an online assessment to see if it’s H1N1. The hospitals in our area also are no longer testing, according to my neighbors, who had taken their son in to be treated. https://h1n1.cloudapp.net/default.aspx?cid=33

  19. I will get the shots IF I can get them done at our doc’s office. I will not under any circumstances go to a gym, the health department or any other place that there are hundreds of people hacking on everything that is around. I know that Kaiser just got their flu vaccines and I am not sure about H1N1 yet. I know that there are several cases around here and one boy that is in band with The Chicken was ill and out of school just last week with H1N1. Its scary, I wish dn’t have to do all this…I wish people were more responsible with themselves going out into the world. Just last weekend my nephew came over, not long after we got to the movie theatre he started hacking and coughing. After telling him to cough in his elbow I texted my sister who said. “Oh yeah, we have something floating around here, I had bronchitis last week-but he isn’t vomitting!”

    AHHH! Okay, enjoy hijacking of the comments. xo

  20. In Chicago this week, it seems that’s all anyone was talking about – it was on the news nonstop, posters in the airport, mentions in the paper. Insane. In NY people seem a little more tempered about it. I guess it’s all well and good until it happens to your community, huh.

    I’m going to go with my ped’s reco. Which…well, we’ll see what that is.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  21. Without reservations, no, no, no, no, no. None of use are getting either vaccine. We have never gotten seasonal flu vaccines, and the H1N1 simply does not have any redeeming qualities in my eyes, but a whole lot of risks. I know my view is not popular, but Hubby and I have discussed it, and we both feel the same way.

  22. If you’re worried about the thimerosal, as others suggested, you might try getting them the Flumist nasal spray. In my state they actually have more of the H1N1 nasal spray available than the H1N1 shot, and they are trying to conserve the shot supply for pregnant women and people with asthma and other people with compromised immune systems who CAN’T take the nasal spray.

    I intend to get my son the Flumist version ASAP. There are already several confirmed cases in our neighborhood, including some at my son’s elementary school.

    As for people saying H1N1 is overhyped, the reason it scares health officials is that it is infecting children and young adults at a higher rate than seasonal flu, and children are more likely than anyone else to transmit a virus like this to large groups of people. So it’s not that the virus is much more severe than normal flu – because it’s not that much more severe – it’s that many, many more people may get it, and if people get it all at once, the medical system might be overwhelmed. Cities with major outbreaks have already had to erect tents outside of hospitals to deal with the overflow.

    I don’t want my kid getting treated for flu-related bronchitis or pneumonia in a tent in a parking lot in October. Even if the chance of that happening is less than 10%, I’d prefer the vaccine.

    Incidentally I live in the city where a lot of the clinical trials were done, and have actually spoken to people who were involved in them. I believe they were thorough enough. The H1N1 vaccine has been tested about as much as each year’s seasonal flu vaccine (they put new strains of the flu in the seasonal flu shot every year).

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