Parents are wondering: Should my child get the H1N1 vaccine?
If you have a young son or daughter in your family, or if you’re a grandparent or relative of a young child, you need to know the H1N1 vaccine details you’re probably not hearing on the evening news – maybe not even from your pediatrician.
Secrets in the details
“The swine flu is complete hype.”
That remarkable statement doesn’t come from an alternative medicine rabble-rouser, or someone in an anti-vaccine group. It comes from a conventional pediatrician.
Recently, my friend Felicia who asked her pediatrician if her 15-year-old son should get the H1N1 vaccine. Not only did her doctor note the hype of H1N1, calling it a “mild flu,” but he also said he believes the vaccine is potentially dangerous.
So where would the danger come in?
For starters, Guillain-Barre syndrome – a paralyzing brain disorder. According to The Daily Mail, a recent letter sent from the UK’s Health Protection Agency to hundreds of neurologists warned the doctors to be watchful for GBS symptoms in patients who receive the H1N1 vaccine. In the mid-70s, several hundred GBS cases were linked to the H1N1 vaccine.
Other dangers are unknown because this new H1N1 vaccine has been rushed into production without benefit of lengthy trials that might reveal dangerous side effects.
While weighing these unknowable areas of vaccine risk, parents might be influenced by the news that about 45 children have already died from H1N1 complications. Without question, we’ll be hearing about this death toll frequently because it’s obviously a powerful motivator for reluctant parents.
But here’s a detail you’re not likely hear unless you do some digging. According to a September issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, about two-thirds of the children who died had at least one high-risk medical condition. And in this group, nearly all had neurodevelopmental conditions such as cerebral palsy.
The death of any child is tragic, but we know the risk H1N1 poses to healthy children is extremely low. As far as the risk the vaccine poses…that remains to be seen.
A sparkling drop of mercury
You may have also heard that two doses of the H1N1 vaccine will be necessary for children under the age of 10. These doses will need to be given about three weeks apart, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has a plan for easing that inconvenience.
Dr. Fauci told Reuters Health that children can receive their seasonal flu shot and one of their doses of the H1N1 shot on the same day.
Convenient? Yes. Dangerous? That all depends…
The first available H1N1 vaccines will be in the nasal spray form. Unlike the injectable vaccines, the nasal spray variety will contain a small amount of live attenuated H1N1 influenza virus. As I noted in a previous e-Alert, the nasal spray vaccine is recommended only for people who have healthy immune systems. The reason: If the immune system isn’t up to par, the live virus in the spray may cause the very sickness you’re trying to avoid.
In addition, some of the other H1N1 vaccines (the injectable ones) will contain thimerosal – the controversial preservative that contains mercury, which some believe may be linked with autism risk. The mainstream media has done a masterful job of marginalizing anyone who dares suggest such a risk. Nevertheless, there it is. And it’s also in the seasonal flu shot. So…are you willing to roll the dice?
In lieu of the H1N1 shot, Felicia’s doctor suggested that her son wash his hands frequently and avoid touching his face while at school. He might have added: Get plenty of sleep, get some daily exercise, and eat wholesome foods – no junk.
If kids (and parents) follow those guidelines, they’ll have healthy immune systems, ready to fight off many a nasty bug.
This article was published by http://hsibaltimore.com/ on Tue, 06 Oct 2009. we are sindicating it as we believe its a valuable read. 🙂