Sunday, October 4, 2009

The H1N1 Vaccine Debate Continues

It seems that all anyone can talk about lately (other than the Olympic decision and the economy) is the H1N1 vaccine that is arriving in doctor's offices this month. Being pregnant AND almost in my third trimester moves me to the front of the line when it comes to the shot. You hear it everywhere, "28 pregnant women die of Swine Flu." As if pregnant women needed another reason to worry about their health on a daily basis. But if this vaccine is as safe as they say it is, why are so many pregnant women resisting it? And more importantly, why are so many OB offices cautioning against it?


My OB office hasn't had the vaccine available yet and therefore they have not been offering it or discussing it during my routine appointments. I have an appointment next week and I do plan to discuss it with my doctor. But before I do that, I have been trying to read up on the subject and do my usual Googlethon to see what I can find out on my own. There are millions of hits dealing with H1N1 and pregnancy, but one very interesting article I came across recently was from CBS with Katie Couric. You can read the article here.

In a nutshell, pregnant woman (and many others) are concerned that there wasn't enough time to properly test this vaccine. The risks are still unknown and with that kind of uncertainty, many pregnant women have decided against the shot. And after talking to other pregnant ladies and reading hundreds of articles I have to admit...I may be one of them. 

I still have a lot of questions and I will be interested to know what my OB thinks. But overall, I am not sure that I want to risk getting the shot. The only thing that worries me, however, is that my part-time job is at a College...one of the germiest places to work. I am diligent about washing and sanitizing my hands when I am on campus but is that enough? I guess I am pretty torn at this point and was hoping that maybe some of you could offer some insight. Have you ready any good articles? Have your doctors said anything to you? My pediatrician didn't seem worried about Addie getting one since she isn't in daycare, but still...should I be thinking about her too with the new baby in the house? This is just too much to think about!!

9 comments:

  1. you also have to remember that each year - the flu vaccine is rushed out without enough time to properly test it. the strains just change too much to have enough time to research.

    that being said - i'm also not pregnant, so i can't really make an informed decision. i think the most important thing is to go with your gut. plenty of people get the flu every year and they are dramatizing the whole H1N1 thing beyond belief! it's just the flu!

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  2. I too am worried. Not necessarily for me (not pregnant!) but for the girls. We are going to get the annual flu shot but not the H1N1.

    We had a friend recently come down with it, and they have a 2.5 year old and 7 week old. The mom (not ill) took the children and stayed with her mom for a couple of days and all fared well.

    I also have a friend who is a ped's doctor who is 35 weeks pregnant. I'm not sure if she got the shot but her status updates on fb always read "if you have the flu (swine as well)don't come see me. Get rest, hydrate and stay home". I'll ask her thoughts on it though!

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  3. I would be nervous as well. In fact, I'm not sure how I feel about most vaccinations. (I know, I know... moan!) But seriously... This epidemic they are talking about? All of these people who are getting sick and dying from it have other pre-existing conditions that no one will talk about. I'm afraide we may be being duped by the pharmacutical companies. Oh well. It's just scary... scary if you do scary if you don't. :(

    Oh, and I also got the jacket in the mail on Saturday!! :)

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  4. DO NOT GET IT JEN.EVEN WORKING IN THE ER AND TOUCHING PATIENTS WITH H1N1 AND I AM NOT TAKING IT. TOO MUCH UNKNOWN. ESPECIALLY LONG TERM TO YOU OR BLAKE. WASH, WASH, WASH IS THE ANSWER.

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  5. Thank for all the in put girls. I am pretty certain I am not going to get it, especially after more reading on line last night. There is just WAY too much unknown! And there are so many doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals saying NOT to get it (like you Aunt Lori) and if that is the case...I think I am going to pass on this one. Too much risk for me. I would rather risk the flu than a bunch of unknown side effects to Blake and I. Thanks but no thanks :-)

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  6. I'm 30 weeks pregnant, and this decision has been the only difficult part of my pregnancy!

    As I learn more, as I talk more to my doctors (my OB and my GP), I think I have finally decided to get the vaccine. My OB's response to my uncertaintly was, "HOW is it any different from seasonal flu vaccine, which is new and untested, and recommended for pregnant women every year??" She also asked how many x-rays I'd be comfortable getting if I got the flu. Her point, and what I've come to agree with after MUCH agony, is that the very real, KNOWN risks of me getting the flu outweigh any theoretical risk of me getting the vaccine. And, as careful as I am, I've had the flu in the past -- I don't view it as an impossibility for me to catch it.

    I think we each have to go with what frightens us the least: the scary flu or the scary vaccine :( For me personally, it's the flu. (There's also the added benefit that my baby will likely be protected against until he is six months old).

    I wish us all healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, whatever we decide!

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  7. Jen I'm with you. Too much unknown. I have never gotten a flu shot and I haven't had the flu since I was 7! Emma has only had one flu shot (18 months) and the only reason I chose to do that was because she only had one other shot that day...so I felt that her body wouldn't be "overloaded". But I'm not getting her the 2nd round of the flu vaccine or the H1N1. I just feel better taking our chances..I can live with my decision not to get it and something happening...than getting it and something happening. That's just me though....

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  8. I just wanted to let you know that my son tested positive for type A flu (H1N1) on Friday. He was feeling pretty bad Thursday evening and we got him in to the doctor on Friday. His doctor prescribed him TamiFlu and within 6 hours of him taking it he was so much better. He is doing great right now and is pretty much back to 100%. I think that the concern with children is when they are not seen by a doctor and treated.

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  9. I am not a medical professional, but it seems that not only is everything overly dramatized in the American media, but it seems that it is severely "under tested." I know that my SIL (who's mother is an OB in Russia and her father is also a Doc in Russia) will NOT be getting the vaccine because of the unknowns. In my eyes, at least we've had people treated for the H1N1, we haven't treated anyone for the repercussions of the vaccine yet. So, maybe, if (GOD FORBID) you or Blake were to get the flu, the medical staff would be more apt to have the knowledge/tools to aid the flu rather than dealing with the unknown recourse of the vaccine.

    Whew. That was wordy. :)

    Here's to a healthy flu season for you and Baby Blake!

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