Posted by: mkirschmd | October 13, 2009

Should I Refuse the ‘Swine Flu’ (H1N1) Vaccine?

180px-Pig_USDA01c0116[1]Just yesterday, two nurses approached me and asked if my kids would be getting the H1N1 vaccine.  These ladies are medical professionals.  Both worked many years as intensive care unit nurses.  They believed in and practiced modern medicine.  Why did they have hesitancy about the vaccine for their kids?

The H1N1 virus has created two illnesses.  The first disease is the viral illness, which typically causes fever, headache, cough and fatigue.  The second illness is fear.  Initially, there was so much press hype, that many of us feared that H1N1 would roll over the country like the Black Plague did in Europe several centuries ago.  Our press, who were hypnotized by H1N1, seemed to have overlooked that the yearly seasonal flu would claim nearly 40,000 American lives this year.  The regular ‘flu’ was a footnote.

Now that fear of an H1N1 national catastrophe has ebbed, a fear of the protective vaccine has emerged.  Folks are recalling the swine flu vaccine in the 1970’s that was associated with severe neurological side effects in a very small percentage of vaccine recipients.  

The pharmaceutical manufacturers have done an outstanding job in preparing mass quantities of H1N1 vaccine on very short notice.  The has been a spectacular public health success. The vaccines have been deemed to be safe and effective by our nation’s health experts.   Here are some facts.

  • H1N1 is a highly contagious infection and every one of us is vulnerable
  • Certain populations are at higher risk of H1N1 complications
  • The H1N1 vaccine is safe and effective
  • When deciding on if your kids should get vaccinated, go for the facts, not fear.

Consult objective sources for H1N1 information.

This is medicine, folks.  There is no 100% guarantee of safety or effectiveness.  Personally, I think that the risks of H1N1 are much higher than the theoretical risks of the vaccine.  We’ll see what my 2 nurses decide.  I’m okay with the vaccine for my own kids.  And if it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me also.

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