October 14, 2009

Will your child get the H1N1 vaccine?

Smart, educated women want to know the facts before we make decisions regarding our family's health. There is no denying that H1N1 is real, and it can be dangerous--especially for our little ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that infants to age 24, pregnant woman and adults with underlying medical conditions are highly at risk. I can't help to wonder, was the vaccine rushed to production without adequate trials? Are there long-term side effects? Will the vaccine actually block the virus?
As a conscientious parent, my worst fear doesn't even relate to the H1N1 virus itself. The vaccine contains trace amounts of thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative. Mercury is said to stay in the brain for several years following the original exposure. It has been linked to the onset of cardiovascular disease, seziures, asthma and most controversally autism.

In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Public Health Service and vaccine manufacturers all agreed to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines as a “precautionary measure” Thimerosal re-emerges in 2009.

The majority of available doses of the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine will be multi-dose vials that contain thimerosal. Single-dose units, which may be difficult to find, will not contain thimerosal as a preservative. Additionally, the FluMist® vaccine that is inhaled through the nose will be offered in single-dose units and will not contain thimerosal.

When available, will get my children vaccinated? I'm still on the fence. One school of thought is to help your children ward off illnesses by keeping their immune system strong. Could a blend of organic meats, vegetables, fresh fruit and juices be just what the doctor ordered? I doubt it...

What will you do?