Monday, October 26, 2009

Are your kids getting the flu shot?

I haven't decided yet.

B can't get it, since he's allergic to eggs. (The vaccine is "grown" in eggs, so egg-allergic patients cannot be vaccinated.)

I'm not a fan of the vaccine, as many of you know. And here's why:

  • In past years, quality has been an issue. Remember Chiron and the tainted vaccine in 2004? And then more problems in 2006.
  • It's predictive, which means it may or many not actually work to prevent the flu. The two years my kids got the flu, the strain was not covered by the vaccine. (One year they'd been vaccinated, one year they hadn't.)
  • It typically contains thimerosal a preservative derived from mercury. There are thimerosal-free shots out there if you ask for them, but don't expect your insurance to cover these.

Nonetheless, I probably will vaccinate, if only because I'll be forced to. And now that my kids are older (and two are already on the spectrum anyway), thimerosal isn't quite as scary, although I don't like the idea of ANY mercury being injected into humans - especially not my kids. Whoever thought that was a good idea?

And yes, I know it's smart to vaccinate your kids against the flu, especially when they're asthmatic. But I have lots of reasons to distrust big pharma, so I'm wary. I do solemnly swear, however, to religiously clean my house, wash my kids hands, keep them home when they are sick, and encourage them to cough into their elbows.

Are you vaccinating? Share your thoughts on why or why not.


Kara Hadley said...

I used to get the shot, but every year that I did I got the flu. Now I'm seeing the same results in my similarly asthmatic sister. Whether the two are related, I'm not sure. But I do know that I haven't gotten the flu since I stopped getting the vaccine.

Aimee said...

Thanks, Kara.

I've actually been told that my little guys will be "excluded" from school unless they get it. (We're in NJ - "Big Pharma Country", so no shock there.) So, with the exception of my egg-allergic 8 YO, looks like we're getting vaccinated.

So ridiculous, isn't it?

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

I came to your blog todayto learn more about this topic. I found your blog several weeks ago, and it is the first place where someone understands exactly what we are going through. My youngest (2) also has asthma (he's on pulmacort, zyrtec, nasonex and recently discontinued singulair) and an egg allergy (among many other severe allergies and chronic eczema), so he cannot get the shot nor the mist. I was going to take my older son to the Dr. today to get the H1N1 mist to protect him and my baby boy. However, I don't know anyone who has had the H1N1 mist, shot, and this concerns me. A lot of Moms are telling me not to do this, but they don't know what it's like to live with someone who can be crippled by a mere cold / cough. Although my children have had most of their regular childhood vaccines, I have never given them a flu shot. This year is different, with H1N1 and my high risk baby. We have kept our 5 year old out of school for the past 2 weeks, as H1N1 is really rampant here right now. I know I cannot keep them in a bubble, but this is just one more thing for Moms to worry about...Any thoughts?

Aimee said...

Anonymous friend...all I can say is, trust your instincts. You're the mom, and you know what's best for your kids. Don't be swayed by peer pressure (yes, that's what it is!). Do your homework if you haven't already, weigh the risks vs. the benefits, and make the right decision for your child.

Again, your are the mom. Whatever decision you make for your child with respect to this vaccine will be the RIGHT decision for your child.

Anonymous said...

I understand worries about potential problems with contamination, but if you read the articles, neither the 2004 nor 2006 problem batches made it to the public because of safety reviews and standards even after their creation and shipping.

I've not typically gotten myself the flu shot-- most years I feel too run down to get it!-- but having now had the flu TWICE since May *and* being pregnant... I am getting it as soon as I can. And my 2 1/2 yo daughter (peanut allergic, asthma, other food allergies [including egg, but doesn't present itself]) has gotten it and has had no problems. We're trying to get her the H1N1 shot, but of course they're nowhere in sight.

If you get your child a flu shot at your pediatrician's office, they can obviously be ready should any distress occur. At least, that's what I seem to recall being told when we first found out about her allergies.

Hope this helps.

Aimee said...

Thanks for the comment!

Currently, the point is moot - no flu shots to be had around here.

I wonder if they'll expel Ig if we can't GET the shot!

mindtraveler said...

Hi I am not a mom but a dad, but maybe I am allowed to share my thoughts anyway? =)

I found your blog through google, wondering around the net in search of information about Singulair and H1N1 vaccin.

I have spent over 40 hours reading a lot of documentation such as from our nations equivalent to FDA and WHO published information and such things.

I have purchased and read a lot of studies from and from what I and another family friend who also has a 3 year old asthma boy have found we are standing by, until we can get qualified answers about what will be the effect when you take the vaccin shot if you are currently being medicated with singulair.

I have come to the same conclusion as you did by the way, regarding Tiomersal the dose in the vaccin shot seems to be quite small and all studies (that I have found) that shows some relation between tiomersal and long-term damages such as for autism and similar refers to far greater doses. Nonetheless it is not fun to decide to inject a poison into your child, but regular vaccines in early childhood also include a lot of dangerous substanses such as formaldehyd and other stuff.

In the mean time I can suggest this blog if you haven't already found it.

Anonymous said...

The H1N1 is not predictive, at least not now. It's a good match for the virus that is circulating.

There should be no difference in insurance cost for thermisol-free shots. It's simply a matter of single dose vs. multiple dose vials.

Flu seasons vary wildly, so just because you "got the flu" (which could have been any number of respiratory bugs) the year you got the shot, doesn't mean the shot won't help you in the future.

The stomach flu is NOT influenza -- many people think the flu shot will protect them from gastric illness. It won't.

Do what you think is right for your family. I'm just sayin'.

Laura said...

Hi, Aimee~

Thanks for your response. I still have not maybe my indecision is my decision : ) My ped. has the H1N1 shot... I should prob. decide before they run out. Anyway, I am so glad I found your site. You seem to be a good resource for my family, and a wonderful mentor for me. Best of luck to you and your boys. Btw - Pulmacort has been the answer for us so far, although Singulair worked extrememly well for his cough (combined with pulmacort), it unfortunately presented with it some nasty side effects. Thus, it was disccontinued.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I found you by wandering around looking for a comparison of albuterol and xopenex. My DD (5) had a cough and a fever for four days so I took her to see the Ped, who promptly prescribed albuterol inhaler and antibiotics.
I freaked out (my kids have never had prescription meds for anything ever before) and decided NOT to follow Ped's suggestion, hoping that Ped was just CYA and DD could kick it on her own. Well, fast forward three days and DD is weezing. Now, I'm reconsidering but a friend suggested Xopenex instead. *throws hands up* When I read your blog and the experience of the other parents, I get so frustrated because it seems like once you start, there's no getting off the moving sidewalk of meds. However, DD is miserable and I just want her to get better. *sigh*

Aimee said...

Thanks, all, for the great comments and information!