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Health Buzz: Flu Vaccinations

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:14pm

It's that time of year again! Flu Season! Are you going to vaccinate?

I choose to vaccinate the boys and myself. (We received our shots yesterday!) At first, I chose to vaccinate simply because my work offered it for free. Then my nephew was born and his pediatrician wanted all family to have the flu shot, to lessen his exposure. Next, my great grandmother's health was failing, and her doctor requested once again that family be vaccinated. The one year that I delayed getting my vaccine, I was pregnant with my first son and was hit BADLY. I couldn't get out of bed for over a week. That year my brother-in-law and grandmother-in-law also ended up in the hospital due to complications from the flu. I think many people equate the flu with a common cold. But it is much worse, especially for the elderly, young and those with compromised health. It can kill you. And I don't want to take that chance with my 2 year old or 10 month old.

I know some parents choose not to vaccinate. One concern is mercury or thimerosol in the vaccine. But my pediatrician used thimerosol free vaccinations, so that is an option.

Another concern is the egg that is used to make the vaccine. I can't argue that! If you are allergic to egg, I believe you can't get the vaccine. I'd be interested in learning if there is an alternative for people with egg allergies.

Some people are afraid of needles. Now, I have (had) an AWFUL phobia of needles. I used to faint after getting shots and having blood drawn. It didn't stop until I was poked so many times during pregnancy and I grew up a little. If I can get poked by a needle, it just isn't a good excuse for ANYONE.

I have also heard people claim that they feel sick after the vaccination. To that, I think feeling "off" for a day is better than having sore joints, nausea and fever for a week or more. And it is A LOT better than landing in the hospital due to complications. Or worse, your child ending up in the hospital.

Finally, there are people who feel that the vaccination is just not targeted enough. The flu virus is CONSTANTLY changing so the CDC creates a new vaccine using viruses that are currently circulating. If they create a good match, the vaccine effectiveness (VE) can be 70 percent to 90 percent! If they are not closely matched, VE can be reduced. But it is still better protection than no protection at all. An analogy, just because a condom is 98 percent effective, do you NOT use it since there is a 2 percent chance of getting pregnant? No, you do all you can to eliminate risk. It's the same concept... to me.

Now, the Mom Buzz is pro-vaccinating against the flu. Are you vaccinating your children - leave a comment! If not, I am open to listening to other opinions. Please share why you are NOT vaccinating against the flu. Or blog about it and please share it with the Mom Buzz. Just play nice! I know it's a hot topic!

For more information on the flu and the vaccine, visit the CDC.
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