Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To get the shot or not get the shot

I was halfway through this post this morning when I had to pause and get the kids. When I returned this afternoon, my friend over here had posted about the same thing. So read her views too, while you're at it.

The H1N1 vaccine is the big debate these days. Do we get the shot or not?

For weeks I've been sitting on the fence about whether the four of us should get it. And I'm not really sure why. Being in a high-risk category (asthma) for the regular, seasonal flu, I qualified for the free flu shot before it was available to all Ontarians for free. And I got. And I stayed healthy.

In fact, in the last 10 years, I've got the flu shot 7 times. The three years I didn't, I fell ill with influenza two of them. And let me tell you -- it was wicked. The word the flu is a catch-all for all winter illnesses, but when you actually have influenza, holy crap, you can tell the difference, and it knocks you on your ass for a week or more.

So, with that kind of record, why am I hesitant to get the H1N1 shot? Well, for starters the adjuvant version makes me a little nervous -- especially for the kids. But also, the fact that although the kids are considered high risk as well (under the age of 5), there is also very little data on its safety for kids -- especially the adjuvant version.

I asked my doctor earlier this week what she thought, and her response was that we should all get it and that it was safe and recommended for everyone. Although, she did add if we really felt strongly against having the kids vaccinated then Ryan and I should definitely get it so as to avoid bringing the germs home to them.

But when Ryan and I chatted about it, he was ambivalent about the whole issue. Not that he doesn't care, but instead, he goes by the theory that he's never had the flu shot and in all those years, he only caught the flu once (from me). So, if the practice ain't broke, don't fix it.

But why shouldn't we get it? The kids have been vaccinated against everything else -- even diseases that I wasn't vaccinated against (Chicken Pox) and we never questioned whether it was right or wrong to do so. In fact, to me, it was wrong not to get them vaccinated against all of those diseases.

Regardless of whether we all get the shot, regular handwashing and hand santizer use will be top of the list of things to do this winter. But let's face it -- my kids are, well, kids. Hands and toys just seem to belong in their mouth no matter how many times I tell them not to.

This post is really just me writing in circles. I don't have any more answers than when I started. I fairly sure that we should all get the H1N1 shot, but yet I'm hesitant to and can't quite put my finger on why. So here's the million dollar question, what do you think?


Krista said...


Here is my two cents. I don't think I will be getting the H1N1 shot. I am like Ryan in saying I never get the flu shot and I don't get the flu (knock on wood). I think with the amount of coverage the media has been giving H1N1 that this is leading to a major panic over everything. Also I don't agree with people saying you must be vaccinated to reduce exposure for others. Just because you have been vaccinated and carry the antibodies so you won't get sick, doesn't mean you aren't a carrier of the disease. If you get exposed to any bug that you have an immunity to, you can still spread it to your family. But this my 2 cents. If people feel they must be vaccinated then they should because they will feel better about everything.

Alison said...

My two cents? You will be in contact at Christmas with a high risk individual who cannot be vaccinated as he's under six months of age. So I personally think that's an excellent reason to get vaccinated!

The clinics are overrun here in Ottawa, but Billy and I are hoping to go soon. I have a cold as it is already and am worried about Teddy getting it. :(