H1N1: it’s everywhere. Well, not literally (I hope!), but it is a topic that’s receiving quite a bit of coverage in the media these days. Nary a day goes by that I don’t come across some reference to the Swine Flu on t.v., online, or in the newspaper.
One of my twin mama friends, who is pregnant with her third child (bless her sweet soul), is currently agonizing over whether or not she should be vaccinated. Her angst over receiving the shot has got me thinking about my plans for my own family, and the goal of this post is to get you thinking about yours.
In truth, I have been worried thinking about this issue for months. I am seriously concerned about Amelia and Ella contracting any strain of the flu at only 23 months old. It’s scary stuff, at least for me (see prior post on hypochondria. Side note: I really need to evolve!). But, it’s also scary to think of them being injected with a new vaccine that was developed and tested in only a few short months; the potential long-term side effects of this vaccine are obviously unknown. Add to all of this the controversy over the 1976 Swine Flu and vaccine (which I have decided not to get into here – you’re welcome!), and you have yourself a real quandary. Well, at least you do if you’re me.
So, I decided to do a bit of research on the 2009 Swine Flu and highlight some important points to help you decide what is right for your family this wonderful flu season. You have some time to think about your plan as the vaccine is not expected to be released until early Fall. I have separated the fruits of my labor into three categories: 1) General information; 2) CDC recommendations; and 3) Important Statistics. All of the information I have compiled can be found on the CDC’s website.
- The Swine Flu is spread in the same way as seasonal influenza and is now being transferred by person-to-person contact.
- The vaccine for seasonal flu does not provide protection against H1N1. The vaccine for H1N1 can be administered on the same day as the vaccine for seasonal influenza, but in a different site on the body.
- 98% of individuals who have contracted H1N1 in 2009 have recovered; most people have done so without medical intervention or treatment.
The CDC is currently recommending that the following populations receive the first round of the 2009 vaccine and has classified them as high priority (in no particular order):
- persons who live with and/or care for infants younger than six months of age
- healthcare and emergency medical service professionals
- persons between 6 months and 24 years of age
- persons 25 through 64 years of age who have chronic health issues or compromised immune systems
Important Statistics about the 2009 H1N1 virus:
- The highest incidence of persons infected is among those between 5 and 24 years of age.
- The highest incidence of hospitalization for flu-related complications is among those under 4 years of age.
- The highest incidence of mortality is among those over the age of 65.
- Although pregnant women represent only 1% of the general population, they also constitute 6% of confirmed fatal cases.
So, what to do? Personally, I am taking one to the arm, or the leg, or wherever else they administer shots these days, as will my husband and my girls. Why? It’s simple really: for me, the potential complications of H1N1 are more frightening than any potential side effects of the vaccine. But, that’s just me. And let me say that I totally respect those of you who choose not to vaccinate your children.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: this is the question. What are you doing? How have you come to your decision?