Virtual Playground: Swine Flu Vaccinations

Often times, as moms, we gather around the slide or the sandbox while our kids play to discuss issues that are on our minds. Since LiveMom is primarily an online community of local Austin moms, we thought we would start a monthly discussion about issues that are important to us and that we think may also be important to you. Instead of meeting at the park, we can have a little chat here online at our virtual playground.

At our most recent LiveMom brainstorming session, Shannon, Nicole and I got on the subject (as I’m sure many moms are right now) of the swine flu vaccine. We wanted to share our thoughts on the subject and hope that you join in on the conversation by sharing yours. The question of the month is:

Will you have your child(ren) vaccinated against the H1N1 flu?

Nicole says:

“I really went back and forth about this. My 3 year old son had a hard time with the seasonal flu vaccine. I kept hearing anecdotally that kids who had swine flu were only sick a day or two and some were less sick than with the “regular” flu. Then stories circulated about how the swine flu vaccine was untested and how all vaccines are risky. I think the turning point for me was when the healthy five year old died here in Austin — that just hit too close to home. I have followed the suggested vaccination schedule and when I weigh the risks of swine flu versus the inconvenience and possible risks of the vaccinations, I decided to go ahead and have my son vaccinated. I can certainly see both sides, though… “

Katie says:

“After reading about the swine flu and talking to my sister who is an MD we (hubby and I) decided not to get our 22 mo the H1N1 vaccine. I felt like there were a couple good reasons not to get it. The CDC has said that the seasonal flu is dangerous for the elderly and very young (under 5). H1N1 is different in that it seems to be worse for children over 5. So my first reason is that she is not in the high risk age group. Also, the last round of swine flu vaccines killed more people than the flu itself. Now I know this is a different vaccine but it does not have long term testing either. Lastly, I called my sister and asked her for her opinion. She told me that she did not intend to get the shot as it has not been tested for long term side effects and she did not recommend my getting it for Adela since she is so little. She did strongly recommend that I get the seasonal flu vaccine for her though because her age puts her in the high risk category for regular flu. I personally don’t love that there are more and more vaccines these days. I get the measles, mumps and polio, things of that nature which are dangerous and used to be very prevalent, but the chicken pox, come on. I was not going to let them vaccinate my daughter for chicken pox but the state now requires it for school attendance. But that is different conversation all together!”

Catherine says:Advertisement

“On days when I don’t watch the news or read about the H1N1 virus, I can easily say that I am not going to vaccinate against it. Then, on the days when I just happen to catch a Nightline episode where they show all of these poor kids in the hospital on their deathbeds because of the swine flu, I question myself and think that perhaps I should.

My eleven year old son, who is asthmatic, caught the swine flu about a month ago. A pit formed in my stomach when I felt his feverish head; his was something that I had been dreading for months and now it was here! In my house!! Whenever there is a report of a new death from swine flu, the words underlying condition would usually accompany the sad announcement. Having a son with an underlying condition just caused more panic in this worry-wart of a mother. Long story short, he woke up with a 103.5 fever and within two hours, I had him at the after-hours clinic. They gave him Tamiflu, we were proactive with his breathing treatments for his asthma and he was over it pretty quickly. Actually, by the very next day, his fever had broken on its own and all he had left were some lingering breathing problems and general fatigue. Since my nightmare happened and we all came out of it in tact, I am now a bit more calm when it comes to the swine flu. Plus, according to the doctor, since we were all exposed to it by living in the same household as the patient, we are supposedly already somewhat immune now.

I think, at least today, that we are going to pass on getting the vaccine.”

Shannon says:

“I’m leaning towards not giving my daughter the H1N1 vaccine, for several reasons: 1) It’s new and has not been widely tested; 2) I believe she’s already been exposed to it because of several confirmed cases in her small preschool class; 3) I may already have to give my daughter two “extra” immunizations this fall because of a screw-up in record keeping at my daughter’s pediatrician’s office (they have no record of them), although I’m trying to figure out how not to have to do that.

I keep hearing that H1N1, while as virulent as expected, is nowhere near as severe as expected, and that it’s similar in deaths to the regular, seasonal flu. Then my dad and stepmom tell me about a special they saw on one of the major networks that said it’s killed over 1,000 people and season flu only kills 300-400 yearly. But the CDC website says 411 deaths (to date) *confirmed* as H1N1, so who knows!

What I will do, if my healthy 5-year-old comes down with flu symptoms, is take her to the doctor to get Tamiflu. She’s old enough to take it, and if it reduces the severity and length — and therefore the risk of secondary infection — then I’m all for it.”

What do you say? Have you had your children vaccinated yet? Do you plan on it or are you staying away for now until there is a little more testing done?

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded LiveMom.com out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

3 Comments on Virtual Playground: Swine Flu Vaccinations

  1. I wish more people would vaccinate. My son is extremely allergic to eggs, and therefore is not able to get any vaccines that are grown using eggs (all flu, and also the MMR). The best I can do is have myself and my husband vaccinated, and try to keep him from being exposed.

    The vaccine has been tested – it’s exactly the same as the regular flu shot, just with the different strain.

  2. It is funny, I just read these entries after posting on my own blog about this issue

    http://motherself.com/2009/10/28/uncertain-decisions/

    I just want to say that I think it is really hard to make a decision when friends and family we respect are making different choices. My hope is that in the end, either way we choose, the odds are still greatly in our favor that our kids get through this ok, swine flu or no swine flu, vaccinated or not. And if this is not true for our family- if we do lose someone we love or are otherwise devastated by this illness, I hope we can somehow avoid blaming ourselves for the choices we made now based on so little real information and understanding.

  3. We elected to get our daughters vaccinated. I happened across this post after <a href=”http://rodrigueztwins.blogspot.com/2009/11/first-come-first-served.html”I wrote about our reasons! I think each family has to decide what works for them when it comes to vaccination. Now, sending a known sick child to school/daycare is an altogether different matter!

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