H1N1 Flu Vaccine For Your Family – Take It or Leave It?
Clean Mom just came home from taking Book Boy to the doctor (minor ear infection). While there, she asks the doctor if he’s giving his family the H1N1 vaccination. He replies that he absolutely will. Score one for the ‘Take It” side.
But what should YOU do? What’s best for YOUR kids? Here’s the latest on what you need to know.
According to Canada’s Federal Health Minister (announced today, Oct19th, 2009), “the H1N1 vaccines are headed to provincial and territorial authorities across the country in preparation for the federal government’s approval of its release to the public later this week.” Millions of vaccinations are being shipped as we speak and the CBC reports that the government has been co-coordinating with local health authorities to start giving shots earlier than previously announced. Bottom line, you’ll need to make a decision soon.
Similar to other posts, there’s already a lot of information on the H1N1 vaccine and the bigger vaccination debate overall. You can Google to your heart’s content but that’s not why you’re here. You’re reading this because you are a Busy Dad (or Mom for that matter) and you need to know the facts ASAP. So here are the key arguments for both sides as summarized by some excellent articles already written:
Here’s a recent, fairly balanced article from the US National Public Radio site. I know, it’s US information but we’re close enough to the US (both in proximity and in our views to inoculations) for the information to be relevant.
Here’s a very comprehensive article written to debunk the current myths/urban legend emails/misinformation floating on the Internet surrounding the H1N1 vaccine from FactCheck.
Finding well-researched, well-written articles supporting the “Leave-It” side was much more difficult. However, some were found as follows:
Dr. Donald Miller is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle; here’s his take on avoiding Flu Shots in general.
Generation Rescue is an Autism Site championed by Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy with a whole page dedicated to informing parents about the dangers of vaccines.
We all want to trust our doctors. We all want to believe that the ‘system’ is designed to protect us and suggest what’s best for us. At the same time, with the mass availability of information on the Internet, it has become much more difficult to determine what’s ‘right’ or ‘true’. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle… oh hooray… a third option… (to be read in your best deadpan voice)…
To be honest, we haven’t decided yet. Clean Mom asked me to do some research and you’re all benefiting from it. Once we decide, we’ll let you know and hopefully this article can help you make a more informed decision.
Whew… that was heavy… let’s end this one on a lighter note…
I know, my humour leaves much to be desired….
Images sourced from Google Images; could not find original sources.
EDIT – October 28, 2009 Update!
This decision is not getting any easier! With the recent passing of a healthy 13 year old boy in the GTA, panic is running rampant in parents everywhere. Clean Mom was speaking with a bunch of parents today at Ballet Girl’s class and the above incident has almost single-handedly moved every parent there to the ‘Take It’ camp!
However, we all need to keep things in perspective!
Here’s a great article published today to read to calm our fears and be in a right frame of mind to make the decision. Some of it’s findings are:
- According to the World Health Organization, fewer than 5,000 people have died around the globe from this variant of swine flu. In any normal year, influenza causes between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths worldwide.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter flu season is now over. In spite of dire predictions, only 185 people died from swine flu in Australia – considerably fewer than the roughly 3,000 who succumb to seasonal influenza in that country each year. And no, it wasn’t because the population was immunized. Australia’s vaccination campaign against swine flu took off last month.
- Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama declared swine flu a national emergency after about 1,000 Americans died. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 50,000 Americans die every year from seasonal flu – without any politician paying much attention.
- What does seem to be true, according to early statistics, is that this particular strain is harder on people in the prime of their lives. Common flu strains tend to hit the very young and very old. In that sense, the real novelty of this novel H1N1 strain may be that it is killing the wrong people.
- For those youngish and middle-aged people who tend to dominate both politics and the media, this is understandably worrying. What’s more unnerving, however, is the level of hype surrounding this flu virus, hype that at times comes dangerously close to hysteria.
Here’s the article: H1N1-is-serious-but-no-need-to-panic
EDIT – October 31, 2009 Update!
Just received a link to a great article by Jennifer Hough that resonates with me and represents a totally different approach to facing and making the decision around the H1N1 vaccination.