To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

I’m getting the regular seasonal flu vaccination today. I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about it, though. I’ve never quite understood why the flu has become such a terrifying concern in modern times. The flu was around when I was growing up and, although I might be engaging in selective recall here, I don’t remember anyone ever thinking about getting vaccinated. It just wasn’t something we were concerned about.

Nowadays, it seems like I can’t escape the admonitions to get vaccinated. I’m told that because I have a two-month-old baby in the house, I need to do it. So I’ve given in, because I don’t want to be the reason that my two-month-old becomes gravely ill.

I have a lot of reservations about flu vaccinations. It just makes me nervous to put something like that in my body. I’m especially wary of the H1N1 vaccine and haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to submit to that, even though all the experts say I should.

Meanwhile, there is a thought-provoking Associated Press story in today’s Daily Republic stating that, according to a new poll, about one-third of parents don’t want their kids to receive the H1N1 vaccination.

Here’s an excerpt from the story that sums up the feeling of those parents:

Jackie Shea of Newtown, Conn., the mother of a 5-year-old boy named Emmett, says the vaccine is too new and too untested.

“I will not be first in line in October to get him vaccinated,” she said in an interview last month. “We’re talking about putting an unknown into him. I can’t do that.”

And another representative comment:

“Basically, the swine flu is the flu. I’m not overly excited about it,” said Julie Uehlein, a Tullahoma, Tenn., mother who is against swine flu vaccinations for her 8-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

Those statements contrast with advice given yesterday by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said this:

“We strongly urge parents to take precautionary steps. Flu kills every year … and we’ve got a great vaccine to deal with it.”

It all leads to a conflicted feeling in parents, verbalized in today’s AP story by Jackie Shea:

“It’s one of those things where you’re almost damned if you do, damned if you don’t."

What are your thoughts about the vaccines? Are you going to get vaccinated? If so, are you going to vaccinate your kids? Are you going to get both vaccines, or just one? Are you worried about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine?

4 thoughts on “To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

  1. I just finished participating in a media conference call with Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. I asked her if she plans to have herself, her husband and her child vaccinated, and she said yes — all three have had the seasonal vaccine, and she and her young child will get the H1N1 vaccine. She’s going to “encourage” her husband to get the H1N1 vaccine, she said.

    I plan to write a short story about her comments for tomorrow’s paper.

  2. Seth – the Novel H1N1 Vaccine (Swine Flu) should be even more effective than the Seasonal Flu Vaccine because they already know the specific strain causing the “Swine Flu”. With the Seasonal Flu Vaccine, the WHO is taking an “educated guess” at the strains that will be in circulation.

    In terms of the actual Swine Flu Vaccine itself, there is no reason to be scared of it. It is manufactured in the same was as the Seasonal Flu Vaccine and the safety of that is well established. This is simply a different strain they are inserting into the vaccine.

  3. white-male- 59- three heart attacks- I’m not taking any chances. So when I stand in line you can’t judge a book by lookin at the cover- I maybe next to you in line I have 9 other medical ailments.

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