Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fighting the Flu (Vaccine)

Alright, straight up, I'm going to admit it: I am having a hard time with the H1N1 "vaccine". First of all, I've noted that we've gone from "Swine Flu" to "H1N1." I believe that the latter is more accurate. Or it is more sinister. Possibly both.

Now, I've been following this one closely. I've traveled during times when I expected half the airport to be wearing masks (nobody was) or, based on media air time, when we absolutely should have been in lock down (we weren't). I tried, diligently, to comprehend the concern, balanced with the numbers. Yes, 176 deaths in Mexico City is 176 more than I'd like, but that's still lower than the number of deaths for any influenza over the same timeframe. And still, I trusted. There must be more to this story, I kept telling myself. And I looked for more.

Now, there are conversations revolving in the mediasphere as well as the blogosphere that the powers that be are fast-tracking a vaccine. This concerns me. Especially when I read tonight that this same group is determining who needs it most: those under 2, pregnant women, and school-aged children. To me, this is our most fragile group. Fragile in terms of vaccine reactions.

I've never been scared of vaccines. All of my children are vaccinated. Yes, I did insist on getting the MMR vaccines broken out (and made my pediatrician crazy for it). Yes, I did insist on all dead Polio vaccine (no live virus). And yes, I was not convinced that the Varivax vaccine was a good idea, and prob would end up requiring a booster (and it did). And I figure it might have just been better for the kids to get chicken pox.

But this year I got worried. I got worried when a pediatrician I trusted strongly recommended Gardasil for my 12-year-old and I allowed the first vaccination without checking it out. (and then I consequently flipped out when I did the research later after my child was running a high fever. No additional Gardasil for us for now). And I will still worry that one. Forever.

And today I worry about the H1N1 vaccine. I don't like fast-tracked vaccines. I am still looking for numbers that bear out the urgency with which this is being forced.  I am just plain worried.

As a parent, I cannot say that I will allow my children to get this vaccine. I could be foolish. But something just isn't adding up yet. And if anyone has any amount of insight, I would love to hear it. Seriously. I want to hear what you think. It's important. 

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