(UPDATED) H1N1 – Swine Flu Shots…


UPDATE: There are diverse opinions being shared in the comment section of this post.  Thanks to many of you who are weighing in on this one.  We’ve decided to form a poll to track your decisions regarding the vaccination.  You can continue to share your personal thoughts in the comment forum, and cast your ballot in the poll located on the right sidebar. Unfortunately, there was a homicide that takes precedence over our story running this evening.  We’ll update you when we have a new air time. 


So Jen and I are in a little dilemma here.  What do we do about this nasty little flu bug known as the Swine Flu?  We were right in the middle of a discussion about this very topic this week when out of the blue, the Fox affiliate here in town contacted us to get our opinion about this very topic.  There are apparently some folks outside the US preying on people who are scared of this illness, selling fake Tamiflu and other flu fighting drugs online.  Fox is doing a story about this problem and what parents are doing about the H1N1 virus.  Jen was out of the house when they called, but I agreed to do an interview and give our perspective on this difficult situation.

On one hand it is scary to think about our boys contracting a virus that has so little history in human beings.  But on the other, the vaccine that has been created to fight this pandemic has had very little testing, and we are a little unsure about letting it enter the family bloodstream.  Then there are the risks associated with the nasal mist vaccine, which we have heard is one of the only options available right now.  There are apparently risks with the mist on people groups who are susceptible to respiratory infections, which our boys would fit into.

This is something we plan to call our doctor to discuss this week.  We really need to cut through the hype and figure out what is best for Isaac, Brooks, Clark, and Henry.  And, for that matter, we also need to figure out what Jen and I will do. 

Please leave Jen and I a comment and let us know what you plan to do. 

Do we get the vaccine at all? 

Are the risks involved with vaccines in general greater than the risk that H1N1 poses?

Do we get the regular flu vaccine AND the H1N1 vaccine at the same time?  Spread them out?

Do we get one and not the other?

Lot’s of scary decisions, please let us know what you think!  Stay tuned, we will let you know what we decided.

~ Quatro Papa

58 thoughts on "(UPDATED) H1N1 – Swine Flu Shots…"

  1. Cherie says:

    Thanks for posting this and being willing to have an open discussion.

    Here are my responses.

    None of us will get the Swine Flu vacccine. Only my husband and I will get the regular flu shot.

    We believe that the risk of Autism is far greater than the flu. We can treat the flu effectively–we cannot afford to add any more "Autism" to our home.

    There is a ton of evidence that thimerisol in vaccines is an environmental trigger for autism and other delays. If you request the thimerisol-free one, the thimerisol has only been replaced with aluminum, which is just as dangerous.

    I believe that my son Christian was injured by his first Hep B vaccine–and will not vaccinate him in the future–his body cannot tolerate it.

    My other boys will be vaccinated–but only one at at a time and very selectively.

    I am not anti-vaccine; I only want to see safer vaccines for our children.

    1 out of every 58 American boys has Autism–My son Christian is one of them.

    Each day I face Autism and continuously see more evidence that shows that vaccines are a contribuiting factor.

    Is it really worth it?

  2. I don't have children, but personally I don't get a flu shot or an H1N1 shot or any of that nonsense. I think it's all hype. And it's a way to help the pharmaceutical companies make money, etc. With regards to vaccines, I know there is a lot of controversy about them, but I know a family with fraternal twins – at 18 months after the MMR shot, the boy twin started exhibiting autistic behaviors while the girl twin was fine. The mother of these two children is adamant that her son is now autistic because of the mercury in the MMR shot. I would say do lots of research – not just from mainstream media or those who have a conflict of interest in the topic while being "experts". I am sure this will be a decision that you and Jen do not make lightly. I pray that God will show you the answers!

  3. I am one of the people who have been battling H1N1 recently… the last 10 days have been the most miserable I have ever been with chills, aches, paines, fever, exhaustion… even my TEETH hurt! Today I've managed to stay awake, but still wiped out.

    2 of my kids can only get the injection version b/c of health problems, but I do think we'll do it. If they get it and feel half as bad as I have recently, it's still awful.

    On the autism spectrum – one of the 2 I mentioned above has autism. I've also done a lot of research and am not completely in agreement with the vaccinations causing autism. We get the required vaccinations for our son, but I look into the optional ones a bit further and discuss them with our pediatrician as well as his cardiologist before we make any decisions. Both physicians have encouraged us to have our son vaccinated for H1N1.

    I think in the end it's a personal decision for each family based on their own research, medical history, etc. Certainly nothing to be taken lightly.

  4. Chelsa says:

    It makes me nervous to get them, but right now I'm 21 weeks pregnant w/ a very high risk pregnancy and my OB and perinatalogist have pretty much said it's a MUST.

    Also, children who have asthma have shown to have a lot of problems w/ regular flu and the swine flu so our son (age 4) will also get it, his pediatrician has also said it is pretty much a must.

    I think one thing to think about is that if it was detected earlier last year it would of been included in with the regular flu shot (which we all get at our house) since the regular flu shot includes all the different flu strains from the previous year.

    I think each family has to make the decision they feel is best for their family. I'm sure there is no right or wrong answer, just what is best for each person. In our case we will all be getting it… my husband as well since we will have an infant in the house in February.

    It is scary to think we have to make these decisions for our little ones, but ultimately I think God is in control and we can only do the best we can with the information we have available to us at this time.

  5. Hilary says:

    Thanks for posting about this. I am interested to see the comments on this post because this is something that I am currently deciding on as well. There are several factors that put me at higher risk to contract the H1N1 flu, or any other illness for that matter:
    1) I work at a childcare facility several days a week, where there are always several illnesses being passed around.
    2) I volunteer at a hospital where I come into contact with many patients.
    3) I am a college student that lives in close proximity to many other students. I sit in class for 20 hours a week surrounded by many other students as well.

    My doctor recommended that I get both the flu shot and the H1N1 shot both to protect myself and the children that I work with and the babies in the NICU that I volunteer in. I will most likely be getting my regular flu shot, but I'm still trying to decide about the H1N1 shot.

  6. M.W. says:

    Hi there! I read your blog frequently but don't often comment (maybe I never have, but I love reading your blog!), but I figure now's as good a time as any. I'm a journalist from Toronto and I recently did a story on flu shots (the general one, not the H1N1 shot), so here's what I know:

    I've never heard of flu vaccines leading to autism or any other serious complication, and I've done a lot of research. I know this is a hot topic and, granted, I don't have children yet, but I wouldn't hesitate to get them the vaccine. Also, the media have really hyped up just how serious the swine flu is. It's not much worse than the regular seasonal flu (which is serious business, of course) and while the vaccine IS new, flu shots are different from year to year, so they are always new. There are literally thousands of different strains of the flu (swine flu being one of them), and every year doctors basically make an educated guess as to which are going to be the most prevalent, and make the shots accordingly. This year, at least in Canada, the swine flu is all over the place. I believe there's talks to cancel the seasonal flu shot altogether and just offer the H1N1 vaccine because that strain is so prevalent. If you're only going to get one shot, get the H1N1 shot, but two certainly couldn't hurt. I definitely think the benefits outweigh any possible side-effects (more than likely, the worst you can expect is a sore arm for a few hours post-shot). Of course, though, talk to your GP first.

    Now granted, I'm in Canada so the vaccine may be different here (I doubt it, but you never know). I also don't know enough about your boys' health to make a call at all (and I never would), so that's up to you. I know that just by virtue of that fact that they're two, they're considered high-risk for more severe complications from the flu, but I don't know how much their lung issues would complicate matters.

    If you're really concerned about your boys getting the shot, my advice would be to, at the very least, get the shot for yourselves. Just you and Jen getting it will help protect your boys from getting it.

    Hope that helps!

  7. Melissa says:

    I'm not sure you realize what you have opened up here . . .
    People have STRONG opinions on this subject. I look forward to your family's decision.

    My husband and I got the regular flu shot. We planned on getting our girls the regular flu shot, but our pediatrician is out of them (with more ordered). We have a newborn at home, so I am more worried than usual about the flu. I am not planning on having anyone in our family get the swine flu shot. I don't believe it has been tested on children at all, just adults. It was put together very fast, and that makes me a little too nervous.

  8. Jen — I would have agree with Cherie on her comment post. I too have done tremendous amounts of research (~40 hours before Sophia was born) and came to similar conclusions. She is getting a few of the recommended vaccines, but one at a time, spaced out by a month.

    There is an interesting review article in the Lancet (medical journal) stating there are no differences in flu incidences for children under the age of 2 that get the flu shot and those that do not. We won't be getting the flu shot this year nor the H1N1. The deaths in children from H1n1 are primarily in children sick with other diseases, very immunocompromised. Very few healthy children have died from H1N1. (Any death is horrible, however, the media has really blown things out of proportion).

    Also, there is some unpublished data out of Canada stating that those who got seasonal flu shots have an increased risk of getting the swine flu. Interesting thought… will be good to see the data released soon.

    I, as a pharmacist, am not comfortable with the lack of safety data available for H1N1. I do not trust a vaccine company with blind faith for a shot that has yet to have long term safety data.

    We are giving high dose vit d for immune protection as well as probiotics to Sophia (to improve immune response). We are doing the standard flu prevention precautions as a family (one of the biggest is avoiding foods high in sugar, HFCS, etc), washing hands ALL the time, etc. Feel free to email me if you want any more specifics of my research. I hate to go on and on in the comment field! 🙂

    Bottom line, you have to go with your convictions and what is best for your family. These are just my convictions.


  9. Mr. Harmless says:

    The bottom line (for all of us) is this…

    You just can't know.

    You have to make this decision without knowing if it is the right decision.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As a practicing PharmD, I do not yet suggest the H1N1 vaccination for children.

  11. One other random thought — it is recommended that all pregnant women get the flu shot — however (from what I can tell and looking through CDC data and some other physician references) the flu shots haven't been tested in pregnant women! Ironic huh?

    I am unaware of extensive testing of H1n1 in kids too … I think 99% of the testing has been in adults… of course, no testing in pregnant women either….

    Just food for thought ….

  12. Lani says:

    This is a tough decision for me, but I think we'll hold off on the h1n1 for now, since I stay at home with my kids. I recently interviewed a twin mom/pediatrician on this subject for our blog, and she was strongly in favor of the vaccine. My closest friend is a P.A. and she isn't vaccinating her son, she feels there just hasn't been proper testing on children yet.

  13. Dawn says:

    I have to concur with M. W. The media has hyped this particular strain of flu. According to the CDC's website (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm), 36,000 people in the US die from influenza related complications each year. H1N1 death toll so far… well, go read their website (http://www.cdc.gov/H1n1flu/surveillanceqa.htm) and see for yourself.

    As to vaccines leading to autism, there is more evidence to the contrary.

    As to getting this shot or not, that's up to you. If you do get it, chances are it will only reduce your flu symptoms and you will still get the flu. It will not prevent you from getting other flus either.

    Do your research, make sure that the places you get your research from are credible, and make an informed choice that is right for you and your family.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am learning about vaccines right now for my two month old son. If aluminum is just as dangerous, what do you recommend doing? Brad and Jen, what did you do?

  15. Dawn says:


    The best way to avoid getting sick is to still wash your hands with soap and water.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I was one of the first in my area to get the H1N1 vaccine 9 days ago. I had no side effects and do not regret the vaccine at all.

    As far as your fear regarding the lack of research towards the shots/mist and your children's conditions, you are correct that children with respiratory problems should not get the mist. They are better served with the injection–which can be administered with the seasonal flu shot as well. The H1N1 vaccine was created using the same process as the seasonal vaccine and clinical trials have been conducted regarding it's safety.

    Thimerosal–which has been known to cause paranoia regarding autism–has actually been found not to cause autism; however, there are preparations of the shot without the preservative. The shots should be out in the next couple of weeks.

    As premies with respiratory problems, your boys are very vulnerable to the effects of both H1N1 and the seasonal flu; therefore, I would strongly consider both. Injections can be done at the same time. A college friend of mine lost his father from the swine flu a few weeks back due to underlying conditions.

    It seems to be trendy amongst parents right now to fear all vaccines due to misinformation, anecdotal stories from friends who think a shot caused something bad, and half-reading the news instead of consulting their family doctors. Even my mother-in-law who works in health care was quoting some poorly sourced information trying to connect this injection to the 1976 swine injections. I think it would best to consult those docs instead of listening to us. Ultimately, it's the choice of the parents, but I would place heavy clout into the medical professionals who spent years being educated on health care instead of just going on the advice of the mommy bloggers out there.

  17. ASHENFELTERS says:

    I have read lots of info about this and have come to the conclusion that this vaccination is just too dangerous to even consider giving it to my children.
    The links between mercury and autism are un-deniable, and i will be curious to see how much the percentage of children diagnosed increases over the rest of this year. I also choose not to have any other vaccines given to my children after reading much information…the risks of the vaccine far outway the risks of the "diseases"( chicken pox, flu, ect…) Here is one of the many things I have found concerning H1N1


  18. lovey says:

    I heard on NPR that the nasal mist is partly active H1n1 virus…enough to trigger antibodies, but not enough to have most people come down with it.

    They said the injection is the "deactivated" virus. How it is produced is how all flu vaccines have been produced for many years. That's why many doctors think it is safe…because it is so much like other flu vaccines in the process of how it is made.

    That being said, I personally will get the injection, but it's a different story whether I'd give children the injection. Children aren't just "little adults" physically, and they react in unpredictable ways medically.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I don't have kids, so I can't say in that regard, however if I did, I would vaccinate them. I will be getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is made available here in Canada. I live in BC which has been the hardest hit province here in Canada, with the 8th death having been a young woman with no underlying health problems. As someone has already mentioned, a Canadian study has shown that getting the regular flu shot may increase your chance of getting the H1N1 flu, and therefore BC will be holding off on regular flu shots until January at least, if they even vaccinate for it. Because of this, I will not be getting the regular flu shot. I don't normally, and won't even attempt to this year just to be safe. We'll be getting our H1N1 vaccines beginning or middle of November.

    As a biology major, I would like to say that the vaccines are very safe. The vaccines that are released have been tested appropriately and although developers have been on an abbreviated time line there should be no cause for concern. During a pandemic it is important that vaccines specific to the pandemic virus strain be produced quickly, but this does not mean proper testing has not been conducted. There are standardized ways in which fast-tracking is carried, seeing as each year the flu vaccine is varied for the strain that hits. The only reason essentially that in a normal flu season vaccines take longer to become available, is that more testing is done just for insurance purposes.

    With all that said, I'll be one of the first to line up at my university to get the vaccine. Being in enclosed spaces with that many university students is in my mind just waiting for disaster when it comes to H1N1. Hearing from those who have had it, it is nasty and if you could prevent your boys from having it, I would.

  20. Melanie says:

    I was one of those adamant about not getting this vaccine for myself or my children. Now three of my six kids are horribly sick with the virus. Even though they got it just days before the vaccine is available, I wonder if I would have decided to get it knowing the suffering first hand that it causes. I am praying my four month old doesn't get it.

    I took my nine year old back in today to see if she had developed pneumonia from her flu. The pediatricians office, that usually only sees 20 kids on a Saturday, literally had seen over a hundred by noon. The children were all lying listless in chairs in the waiting room as the parents waited in a line out the door to sign there kid in. (This is not a clinic or hospital, just a regular doctors office) Outside in the buildings hall, family's were sitting on the floor waiting. It was so surreal, like a horror movie.

    The school administration is thinking of closing the district for a week because there is a 30 percent absentee.

    So would we have gotten the vaccination? I am not sure. I have researched vaccinations for several months while I was pregnant with the last. I thought I knew my stuff. But I hadn't LIVED it.

    I always said I would rather them hurt from something I didn't do rather than what I did. I am rethinking that.

  21. Dear Brad and Jen,
    I have two kids, both born early, although both did well. My son is immunocompromised, and gets IVIG every 3wks, with other health issues as well (in fact as I write this we are currently in Children's Hospital Boston). I am a pediatric nurse, who has already taken care of kids with H1N1, and as I sit here at Children's with my son, the H1N1 is rampant here. I have done research too, it is so hard to know where to turn with regards to these vaccines. But as someone prior to me wrote, the H1N1 vaccines are created the same way as the regular flu and we have gotten those before.
    I also have taken care of children with the "odd" childhood diseases that were NEARLY gone prior to people not vaccinating their kids against them. My feeling (for me personally) is that I would rather have my child get the vaccines, rather than the disease it is preventing any day of the week. As a pedi nurse, it is heart wrenching to see some of these diseases tear our most innocents apart. I do anything in my power to protect my kids. My suggestion to you is to pray about it for God to give you wisdom and peace about whatever decision you make. After all, doesn't God know best?!?!? 🙂 PS LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog:-) God bless and enjoy this beautiful day that we have been blessed with

  22. Anonymous says:

    I did get the regular flu shot for both of our boys (6 and 10) – when I questioned our doc about the swine flu shot – he said he wasn't prepared at this time to recommend the swine flu vaccine – he said he didn't think it had been tested on enough people to really know if it was truly safe….he felt that the number of side effects was also a concern…..

    Kathy in Texas

  23. Jessica says:

    I teach kindergarten (so I am pretty much surrounded by germs – lol)

    I have always gotten the regular flu shot, and did again this year.

    However, I will not be getting the H1N1 swine flu shot. I am just not comfortable getting this vacine… it is too new and there is no way to know the short or possibly long term side effects.

  24. Anonymous says:

    If you have received seasonal flu shots before without giving it a second thought, there is absolutely NO medical reason to avoid the H1N1 vaccine. The only thing "different" about the H1N1 vaccine when compared to the seasonal flu vaccine is that it protects against a different virus. However, the seasonal flu vaccine is changed EVERY YEAR to protect against a "different" virus (whichever one happens to be most prevalent that season). The vaccine to protect against the H1N1 virus is no different than the vaccine to protect against the H3N2 influenza virus, the B/Brisbane/60/2008 influenza virus, or the A/Uruguay/716/2007 influenza virus which are all strains that this year's seasonal flu vaccine protects against. If the H1N1 outbreak would have started two months earlier, the seasonal flu vaccines would include protection against H1N1 and you wouldn't even have to get a second shot. There is no need for massive clinical trials since the vaccine for H1N1 is so similar to previous seasonal flu vaccines — there really isn't anything "new" included in the H1N1 vaccine that could harm anyone! The virus included in the vaccine changes every year anyway. From a medical standpoint, it is absolutely illogical to be okay with the seasonal flu vaccine, but opposed to getting the H1N1 vaccine.

    You have less than a 2% chance of infecting someone with the flu by getting the Flu Mist so-called "live virus" vaccine — and the person would have to be severely immunocompromised in order to get it (which is why they do not recommend that those who have close contact with immunocompromised individuals get the Flu Mist version). The CDC has approved Flu Mist to be used by breastfeeding mothers, but not by pregnant women.

    Too many physicians are choosing to listen to the uninformed "talking heads" in the media instead of reading and listening to actual scientific research when it comes to whether or not the H1N1 vaccine is safe. It's easier for them to say, "I don't know" and protect themselves against what they believe could be a potential malpractice lawsuit than for them to do the research and follow the recommendations of the CDC.

    People have died from H1N1. Even those who don't die are very sick and extremely uncomfortable for days. If I can give my child a vaccine that is proven to be safe and effective to prevent them from having to go through that discomfort, I absolutely will. If something serious actually DID happen to one of my children as a result of getting H1N1 and I had failed to get the vaccine for them just because I "wasn't completely comfortable" with the vaccine (though it has been declared safe by every major medical organization out there and there have been no fatalities as a result of the H1N1 vaccine), I know that I couldn't forgive myself. I will be vaccinating my children.

  25. We will be getting our kids vaccinated against the seasonal flu and H1N1 this year. They received the seasonal flu vax last year, so they only need 1 dose this year. They will need 2 doses of H1N1 spaced 1 month apart.

    As a mother of a son with autism, I am not convinced that credible scientific evidence exists to support the claim that vaccines cause autism. My son has been fully vaxed on schedule, but none of those shots contained thimerosal or mercury. Most likely none of the shots your boys have received contained thimerosal or mercury either. The prefilled seasonal flu vaccines used on most children do not contain thimerosal or mercury.

    For perspective on vaccines, I think Dr. Sears is a great place to go. Here is info on H1N1 vaxes and their mercury content: http://www.askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook/labels/Vaccine%20News.asp

    And info on the seasonal flu shot and mercury content: http://www.askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook/2009/09/flu-vaccine-update-for-20092010-season.asp

  26. Anonymous says:

    Okay so I was going to write a novel about how the vaccine developed no differently than your seasonal vaccine but someone already did a wonderful job of explaining it.

    My children and I will be getting it if it's available to us. I have a very close family member who has now spent over a month in the hospital fighting to save her lung due to H1N1 related pneumonia.

  27. Lindsay says:

    What a powerful discussion!
    I am getting the H1N1 vaccine (I'm pregnant) and I am getting the vaccine for my son (former 24 weeker). There wasn't much thought for me into whether we were getting them or not. I work in a hospital so I have a little more scoop in the details of how the vaccine was produced. I get emails everyday from our Public Health Department about it actually. Had the H1N1 been well known in January (when the seasonal flu vaccine is being made) then the H1N1 would have been in the seasonal vaccine and no one would have really thought twice about it. But since we didn't really know about it until march, we have 2 vaccines. H1N1 is a strain of Influenza A and just happens to be found in SWINE instead of adults. And as far as testing goes….there is a NEW seasonal vaccine every year so there isn't much testing done on the seasonal vaccine. It's just that our bodies are used to the seasonal flu and not the swine. I hope this is informational for you. I am not trying to sway anyone either way. To each there own and I know that everyone will make the right decision for theirselves and their families.

    I will however PRAY, regardless if vaccinated or not, that everyone stays healthy this winter!!!

    God Bless!!!

    Lindsay Bowling

  28. Anonymous says:

    I'm a grandma and a school teacher and I say absolutely get the vaccine. We have had an epidemic in the school where I teach. 20+% of the children were sick and were absent last week. The CDC as well as the local Public Health Commissioner have been part of our staff's education on the disease.

    The H1N1 vaccine has been prepared like all other seasonal flu shots for years…nothing different there except that it targets this particular vaccine. I'm really not sure where the fear of the vaccine comes from. Statistically, our children stand a much greater risk from the disease than from the vaccine. Much greater.

    This flu is extrememly contagious, it is hitting children hard, and there has been a much higher child mortality than in other flus. We have had the deaths of 5 children here in Indiana from H1N1, more than 70 children nationwide.

    I know kids who spiked fevers of 105. It hit our school before parents had a chance to get their kids vaccinated. If your kids haven't had it yet, get the shot.

  29. Michelle says:

    I will be getting the vaccine but my LO will not. I work in health care and it is mandatory for me to receive it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    My child is 3 and has had the regular flu shot every year. However I am nervous about the h1n1 shot because of the lack of information. I will talk to my pediatrician before I make a decision on that one.

  31. Becky says:

    First let me say that this is a personal decision and that you have to do what you both feel is best for YOUR family. You are brave to even ask for everyone's opinion! 🙂 As for our family, I have 4 heathly, full term kids, ages 8, 6, 2 and 1. We choose to give our kids the regular flu vaccine each year. The older ones get the mist, the younger get the shot. As for the H1N1 vaccine, we are choosing NOT to get it. I too feel there is much too little testing and there is a high mercury count. There is risk both ways, but I know LOTS of families personally that have had swine flu this year (including their kids) and are doing well. I also know that some children have died from the virus, but I think they are the exception and not the rule. The experts I've heard are saying that people with underlying cardiac conditions tend to be the ones with real trouble.

    Praying for you as you make this decision, it's a big one. But remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love and of a sound mind. And one thing we are assured of…"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Let us know!

  32. Well, I had a well-thought out comment to post regarding a VERY lengthy discussion I had with our trusted, well-read pediatrician.
    However, the anonymous commenter @ 10:50AM said everything I wanted to say, only better and with more info!

    That said, I just survived a week with the H1N1 virus, and did not pass it to my husband, 3yo son, or 3wk old daughter.
    We had the 3yo vaccinated for regular flu and H1N1 at the same time, and I don't regret it.

  33. Candace says:

    We will getting the vaccine. We have already gotten the flu shot this year. While I do stay home, I attend college, where several cases have been confirmed. Also my son attends preschool and already one child has a confirmed case of H1N1. We have also have 5 deaths reported in my state. So..after research we are vaccinating to be safe. By the way, there is no evidence to support that vaccines cause autism. I really wish people would educate themselves on this issue.

  34. Hi Brad and Jen,

    You brave souls! I have to say I was on the fence a little, but now I am strongly leaning towards H1N1 vaccines for all of our family. Your readers brought up some great points! Here's a few more thoughts from me:

    1)As far as the vaccines and autism thing, one of the biggest things that people forget is that autism shows up around age 2, which is also when kids are getting most of their childhood vaccinations. Also, as a former researcher for 9 years, I am telling you that you can skew a study to come out the way you want to and don't set it up correctly. I have read published papers that I could tell were junk, based on how poorly the experiments were set up. So I talked to my pediatrician, who I consider an expert in the field who can sort out the junk. He said there was no evidence that vaccines cause autism. He, and his 3 partners have posted a bold, authorative letter stating so in his office. And they also state that they recommend vaccinating, especially against childhood diseases.

    2) They have always said with the flu shot, not to get it while you are sick or the effects will be amplified. I apply that with any shots for my kids, and come back later if they are ill.

    3) I have asthma myself, and have gotten the flu shot most of the last 10 years. The years that I didn't get it, I was horribly sick and regretted it immensly. 3 seconds of pain verses a week of being miserable is a no brainer.

    4) We are going tomorrow to see Jack's pediatric pulmonologist, and I will ask them about H1N1, too. (Remind me to tell you if I forget, what they say!) But they said last year that they DO NOT recommend the Flu Mist for anyone under age 8. My girls actually do ok with it, but Drew got croup from it this year, and my boys will not be getting FluMist again.

    5)No one has really addressed the multiples factor that you are dealing with, too. If one boy gets it, it will be nearly impossible for you to keep it from spreading. Being boys and preemies, and Clark's awful reaction last year, if they do get it, you are almost guarenteed it will be severe. What would you do if all 4 of your boys would be in the hospital at once with it? How devastating in so many ways would that be for your family? That was the clincher for me to think about (not to mention my selfish nature not wanting to deal with 2+ weeks of sick whiny kids if I don't have to!)

    So we will be getting H1N1 in our family. We have all already gotten the flu shot (except for Jack who will get it tomorrow while allergists are nearby to watch, as he is allergic to eggs, which are in it).

    I just have to say, that I think that sounds completely wacky that people who have gotten the flu shot in Canada seem more suspectible to H1N1? That makes no logical, biological sense to me at all. Again, I would love to see the study, data. For those who got the vaccine, I have heard it might give a little bit of protections. However, those who got the Flu Mist, I would believe are more suspectible, as I have seen people in my family get sick with it, and it takes a while to recover.

    Just my 2 cents! But I will support you in whatever you decide is best for your family!

    Love you guys!

  35. Oops, one last thing I forgot. I think it's interesting that right now they are vaccinating emergency and health care workers against H1N1. These are the people who deal with these diseases on a daily basis. From what I have seen, they are all going for it and getting vaccinated themselves. If those who understand the science behind it are fine with it, shouldn't we?

  36. ASHENFELTERS says:

    Just wanted to add one more thing..
    36,000 die every year from the "normal" flu…how many deaths have been associated with H1N1?
    Also, they do make a new vaccine for the flu every year, but each persons body mutates the virus differently. Why would you get vaccinated for something when they dont know your body, or how it will react to the flu? Just a thought.

  37. Emily says:

    I called our doctor about the H1N1 vaccine too. Since our kiddos were 28 weekers and are prone to respiratory problems they told us to absolutely not get the mist. We will see what they say about the shot soon i guess. Good Luck!


  38. Ashley says:

    I am a student taking a clinical research program, and will absolutely not get a vaccine that has had so little research. 1 in every 5000 potential drugs actually reaches FDA approval, and that is after years (~10) of development and clinical trials. The fact that this vaccine has been developed so rapidly and has had very little testing makes me very wary of it.
    Also, there's been some research suggesting that the vaccine for H1N1 may make people more susceptible to the "regular" flu.

    Someone commented on health care workers volunteering to be vaccinated… in Canada, they merely suggested mandatory vaccination and health care workers went beserk with Nurse's unions threatening to walk off the job if they implemented it. The prime minister has also said that he is undecided as to whether or not to vaccinate his family. Which makes me wonder if this is all money-motivated… Canada doesn't really stand to profit from this vaccine, so they're not as gung-ho about promoting it as companies & feds in the US are…

  39. Beth says:

    I think it's great that you guys were willing to open this heated topic on your blog. I have a 4 yr old son who has pediatric asthma and 1 yr old quadruplets, who have had no lung problems, but were born 6 wks premature. All 5 of my kids have gotten the seasonal flu vaccine and will be getting the swine flu vaccine as soon as possible.
    I saw that someone else already mentioned Dr Sears website. I think he is an excellent source. He breaks down the exact ingredients in each form of the vaccine. There is no mercury in the pediatric shots.
    There is a lot of inaccurate information out there. Even with the true facts this is a tough choice to make. I have followed your blog for a while now, and the two of you have always seemed to put the boys' interests first and think and pray on your decisions, so I am sure you will make the best choice for your family! God bless you all!!!!

  40. Anonymous says:

    I don't understand how scientists can make any flu vaccine a year ahead of time by "guessing" which flu strain will be prevalent the next year. I would like to know how many people still get the flu even tho' they've had the vaccine. I think the swine flu is a big media hype helped along by the pharmaceutical companies because they know it's big bucks for them. I have never had any of my thirteen children get the flu shot, nor have I nor my husband ever had them. Yes, we've had the flu, but there's no way to tell if the vaccine would have prevented it. (I'm selective about other vaccines as well-No hep-b (what for).

  41. KSDallas says:

    The poll seems to weigh on the "no" side.

    I will say that my daughter who is 14 has never had a flu shot. I had one years and years ago and got sick from it, so I never got another one.

    I can honestly say that in the last 18 years – I maybe have gotten the flu 2 or 3 times at most. My daughter has gotten it maybe twice.

    Overall, the shot just doesn't seem worth it to me. Now we are not high risk, so maybe my opinion would be different we were that category.


  42. Emily says:

    I have read all of the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) reports related to the MMR vaccine submitted prior to the time that the litigators started manipulating the database. There actually isn't any evidence that made me think there is an actual link to autism. The Wakefield Study, which addressed this point in the first place, has been completely discredited. Mark Geier, the doctor that brought this "problem" to light benefitted significantly from the vaccine litigation through his son, David Geier's affiliation with a litigation consulting company called MedCon. David Geier does not have any medical credentials at all. Plus, I met him and he's really creepy.
    Yes, there is a rise in diagnosed cases of autism, but there's nothing I would call reliable to be able to firmly place blame on any one thing.
    If you are not going to vaccinate, do it because the H1N1 vaccine wasn't fully tested, not because vaccines in general are scary.
    As scary as vaccines may be, polio, MMR and all of the diseases our grandparents dealt with are a whole lot scarier.
    One blogger was absolutely right. You just can't know. You have to make the decision based on not knowing reliable risk data related to 1) the vaccine; 2) the things that are in the vaccine; and 3) your family's risk of contracting the swine flu.
    But, make no mistake, this is not some crazy conspiracy on the part of the FDA and the CDC. Those agencies want Americans to be heathy. The vaccine they are giving is the best available and they believe it to be safe based on all of the information in front of them.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I have a question for anyone who might know – it's being suggested that the pharm. companies stand to benefit, etc. But if all these places are offering FREE H1N1 vaccines…how are they making money? Is the government reimbursing the pharm. companies? I'm truly curious.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I don't have kids, but I am going to get the vaccine for myself. I got my first flu shot in 1999. Three weeks later I was on a college retreat in the mountains. The entire group came down with a nasty case of the stomach flu – everyone except me and the one other person who had gotten the shot. I've gotten the flu shot every year since and I haven't had the flu for ten years (knock on wood).

    From what I've read, the H1N1 flu shot is made exactly the same way as the regular one, just with a different strain. This new strain is said to be similar to the one from the 1918 flu pandemic, which disproportionately attacked young healthy people, whose strong immune systems overreacted and caused more trouble than the virus itself.

    That said, it seems from the comments above that the H1N1 vaccine hasn't been tested on kids. Obviously the choice is completely up to you. Vaccines are definitely a personal choice.

    Love your blog, by the way!


  45. I will not have my children or myself vaccinated against the H1N1 or the regular seasonal flu. I just don't agree with it and am selective in my vaccines (major diseases – yes; annoyances – no). On a side note, H1N1 has already made it's way through our household and my two children who have asthma did fine through it. Yes, they were both very sick (much sicker than the rest of us), but with the help of extra inhalers/nebulizers, they were OK. We kept a very careful watch on them. We were all treated with Tamaflu as soon as our oldest tested positive and so those who did get sick, did not get as sick as him (he has asthma, a heart condition, and a neurological disorder – all risk factors).

    We have one son who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (high functioning autism) and another son (one of our 2 yr old triplets) who is currently being evaluated and in professional's eyes, is probable for autism (we think most definitely). I am in a small minority of parents of children with autism who do not believe that vaccines caused this in either child (the youngest wasn't even vaccinated on time and showed symptoms way early). I do believe they can be more sensitive to vaccines but do NOT believe it causes it. We have a lot of autism in our family, so I can see how it can be very genetic, also. So that is not why I'm not doing it. I'm not doing it because I just simply think that there is a lot of hype over this.

  46. Fascinating dialogue here! If I can get them for my kids and myself, I will. I work in preschool, the kids are in preschool/daycare full time, and neither of them have ever had a bad reaction to a vaccine.

    With that in mind, I know a family with kiddos who are a more high risk–they are secluding themselves as much as possible until the shot (they can't do the mist) is available.

    It's a tough call–good luck weighing all the options!

  47. I seriously have no clue what the right thing to do it. After my experience last week at the Pharmacy (see my last post for details), I feel like a fool to not get the shot.

    I don't know, can someone make up my mind for me?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Have a friend who is in healthcare,she received the mist a couple of days ago for H1N1,and guess what? Her entire family is sick today. So my thoughts weighted on the negative side for the swine shot/mist or flu shot,not gonna protect ya regardless. ~Darlene

  49. Joan says:

    Ugh I'm with your guys. It's so horrifying to have to decide. I think I am going to speak with the kids Dr. as well and decide what he thinks, and what would be best for the children. If the spray has not had an fatal effects, like the flu itself, I want to say I'd take my chances.. I'm at a loss right now too..

  50. Sandy says:

    I received the annual flu shot, as well as my husband. We both work in healthcare and have gotten it for years. I don't believe that I have ever had influenza. I am currently off work and expecting a baby in a few weeks. I homeschool my two former 28 weekers, who are now 9. One of them has some respiratory issues. I have never given either one the flu shot, and at this point don't intend to. They do go to church, homeschool activities, and spend time with neighborhood children, cousins, and also other children in the home when the visit their father. I believe they each had the flu a few years ago once. I also believe that the H1N1 thing is being hyped up and people are getting scared to death. Not that it should be taken lightly, but the "regular" flu claims many lives EVERY YEAR! I am still not sure about the special vaccination, but will continue to consider it. I pretty much plan to seclude my newborn as much as possible for the winter, but of course, she will have contact with her father (who takes care of sick people all the time) and myself and the older kids. I will be interested to see what her pediatrician says, I trust his judgment on most things.

    Some of the above posters have mentioned vaccinating kids in general. I would have to say that while I respect people's decisions not to vaccinate, I do have a problem with it. I have worked in an ER for over 7 yrs now, and it is clear that we are seeing diseases that were rarely seen for many years after we started vaccinating children. A child with pertussis (whooping cough) is a terrible thing. Sometimes I feel that people who don't choose to vaccinate are just relying on those of us who do to keep these diseases from touching their own lives. Unfortunately, the more that choose that, the less protection. Just my 2cents on the subject.

  51. Just as an FYI to the anonymous who was talking about influenza as a gastroenteritis…stomach bug; influenza is a primary respiratory illness. Some with H1N1 have had some vomiting but most of that is probably from the high fever and excessive coughing. I am a PICU nurse at a top ranked children's hospital. I think the jury is pretty spilt on to get or not to get. A lot boils down to where you obtain your information, who you trust, and how much you understand about the entire issue.
    Personally, we will not be getting the vaccine. My kids are 2 1/2 and 16 months and healthy. Working in the hospital I am constantly exposed and still, the risk outweighs the potential beneft. I work closley with a nutritionist and pharmacist and we have been researching this. While I think the jury is out about autism, that was not our primary focus. http://Www.zimmernutrition.com has the articles if anyone is interested. I see MANY kids with h1n1 daily and while a fever of 105 seems scary, it is not a medical emergency. As long as you can reduce the fever by medication, lukewarm baths etc…there is not a risk of long term issues. Of course this is a bit of a different debate when you are talking about kids at a higher risk. But my preference would be to increase vitamin D and add probiotics and hand washing and avoidance of crowds where here could be people infected.
    For those that have said the vaccines are 100% safe; some more research needs to be done. Look at CDC data about adverse reaction reporting. It is estimated that the flu vaccine is only about 50-60% effective each year. There are about 36,000 deaths annually from influenza. 5 years ago only about 20% of the population got the vaccine while today it is closer to 60%. The number of deaths and documented cases has not decreased. I think that shows it's lack of effectiveness. And while some say that the h1n1 vaccine is safe because it is made just like the regular flu vaccine, then why was the first set of vaccines delivered recalled because there was an increase in a disorder that causes paralysis? Look at the number of adverse reactions to the vaccine alone, along with the fact that there have only been 500 and some odd number of deaths from h1n1…remeber 36,000 on average a year from flu…it just doesn't seem that risk of death from the illness is equal to the risk of the vaccine alone.
    And just to throw in there…I am just getting over h1n1, my children are fine as of now and if they do get sick…Tylenol, motrin, fluids and rest. That is really all that can be done and they will survive!!

  52. I had the same questions but decided to just get our family the normal flu shot. Which is what most people are doing since the shots are mostly gone. Since your boys are preemies and are considered high risk (like my 4 yr old) the doctors will tell you to get the flu shot. I agree that the swine flu vac has not been tested enough and it really is just another version of the flu. I think people are just freaking out about it too much. Good luck in deciding!

  53. Alicen says:

    So the comments here pretty much sum up how the vast population is reacting to this vaccine. Lots for, lots against, and many unsure.

    I am still unsure as to what to do for our family. My 3 yr. old son and I received the seasonal flu vaccine for the first time this year for 2 reasons: 1) my pediatrician is very pro flu vaccine and 2) I have a 4 month old daughter now so we fall into the high risk category (although she is completely healthy).

    I never had anything against the seasonal flu vaccine but we were all healthy so I didn't feel it was a big deal. I have never (knock on wood) had the seasonal flu and I did work at a daycare for 4 years. I also had heard of many people getting the vaccine that still came down with the flu so I decided to take my chances. I agreed to get it this year mainly to help protect my daughter. I know life would suck for a few days if I got the flu but most likely I would be just fine however I would feel horrible if her poor little body got it or my son for that matter.

    My son was hospitalized for 5 days with the Rotavirus earlier this year and although it's a completely different illness seeing your child THAT SICK is something that you never want to see again, especially for something that can be prevented! Side note: He was suppose to have gotten the Rotavirus vaccine and I know for sure he received one dose but can't confirm (we're in the military and move around a lot) whether he did get all doses. It wasn't on his record although I consented so who knows. I have since learned to stay on top of things much more but that is a story for a different day. I would hate to have to go through that again for either child knowing it most likely could have been prevented. Then there is the chance our family could somehow escape without getting sick.

    I am still on the fence about whether to get H1N1 for us. Many of the thoughts I have have been said already. I have read the info on the CDC's website and spoken to my pediatrician who says we should definitely get it because my daughter can't. I think the only reason I am on the fence is because the vaccine is so new and there is no long term data on possible side effects. I am not a person who believes there is a link between vaccines and autism however there are other possible complications. Like some people said that does seem silly because many of us don't think twice about the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine was made using the same method and it is still the flu just a different strain. The other reason I am on the fence is because I feel the H1N1 thing is WAY blown out of proportion. From what I have read it's not that much more severe than the seasonal flu it is just more easily spread. I do know that if either of my children got it I would feel horrible knowing there was a way to, more than likely, prevent it.

    Having said all that I am still debating what to do for us. It's not an easy one and it comes down to a personal decision that we all make and can live with making. If I didn't have children I wouldn't get the vaccine…I would take my chances but like they say having children changes everything!

    Also just an FYI…some people were talking about how there were no clinical trials done on children but actually THERE ARE. Here is a link to the article with all the specifics if anyone wants to check it out.


  54. Torn on the shot, but a little scared since I have a newborn in the house.

    I did want to correct someone's statment that the only people dying are people with underlying medical conditions. Right now there are several otherwise completely healthy high school and college students in our area fighting for their lives from pneumonia brought on by H1N1. And this is just beginning.

  55. Anonymous says:

    The H1N1 vaccine would have been included with the seasonal flu shot had they known about it sooner. So if you get the regular flu shot get the H1N1 too. My whole family has gotten the regular flu shot and will be getting the H1N1 as soon as we can. We all are in the high risk groups, I'm a nurse, my husband has asthma and my kids just because of their age.

  56. My kids got the H1N1 yesterday, and so far are ok. My daughter who is 1 was exposed to someone all of last weekend, who then tested positive for H1N1 on tuesday. I am anxious to see if she gets sick. AS a nurse the kids that I have seen with H1N1 already are SO SICK!!! I will do anything to protect my kids from it

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