Making the difficult H1N1 vaccine decision

A major topic has been the H1N1 flu following closure of Custer County Schools, and the death of a local girl due to an illness that turned out to be Strep A. She did not have H1N1.

These events of the past few days have caused me a lot of angst over whether to vaccinate my son for H1N1. This was an especially difficult decision for me because many health-care professionals believe autism may be related to the vaccine preservative thimerosal, which contains mercury.

I’ve questioned many health-care professionals I know about what to do and the answers run the gamut. In the final analysis, I decided to have the county health nurse give Harrison the nasal mist vaccine, which does not contain thimerosal. It seemed the best choice given all the information I considered.

The most influential advice came from an MD who is not particularly gung-ho on all vaccinations but who said in the case of this particular flu, which seems especially dangerous for children, vaccination for H1N1 makes more sense.

Here’s the deal on thimerosal. The multi-dose injections contain thimerosal; single-dose injections and nasal mist do not. This is not to say that any of these vaccinations may not contain other questionable ingredients.

The single-dose injections for H1N1 are difficult to obtain; two local clinics do not carry them, which is why I opted for the mist.

Another difference: The injection versions contain killed virus, and the mist contains a weakened live virus.

If you want the “official” word on vaccination safety, go to the CDC.

If you want affirmation of the CDC’s advice, go to the media.

Rarely do we hear about strengthening the immune system. It’s not a bad idea whether you do or don’t vaccinate.

There are some health-care professionals who are questioning the vaccinations, and I think it’s not a bad idea to consider what they have to say. Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D., has pointed out many reasons he does not recommend people, especially children, take flu vaccine, and notes a Canadian study indicates those who take the seasonal flu shot may be twice as likely to get swine flu.

After weighing all this, I feel like I made an educated decision, concluding there is really no good choice, but vaccinating my son for H1N1 using the mist seemed the lesser evil.

One thought on “Making the difficult H1N1 vaccine decision

  1. H1N1 and other flu vaccines are listed under Pregnancy Category C versus other safer drugs, which for example are in Pregnancy Category A or B.

    Pregnancy Category C: “Animal studies show adverse fetal effect(s) but no controlled human studies OR no animal or human studies; weigh possible fetal risk versus maternal benefit; see pkg insert for drug-specific recs.” We are going to be giving this questionable product to millions of pregnant women who are not aware of this classification system. Link to package insert below. See p. 2.

    I would feel more comfortable if vaccines were say Pregnancy Category B: “Animal studies show no risk or adverse fetal affects but controlled human 1st trimester studies not avail/do not confirm; no evidence of 2nd or 3rd trimester risk; fetal harm possible but not likely. see pkg insert for drug-specific recs.” I’d be delighted if they were Pregnancy Category A: “controlled studies show no risk in first trimester…”

    Safety and effectiveness of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine have not been established in pregnant women or nursing mothers or children <6 months of age. References from the CDC. Take a look not only for yourself, but for your family as well.

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