Pregnant women top the list of the most at-risk group for contracting the H1N1 flu but many are scared witless to get the vaccine that recently became available this October in the United States. (as evidenced in the below CNN video)
The Washington Post reported this month, that “since the pandemic began, at least 3,873 Americans have died from complications associated with the flu, primarily the H1N1 virus, including at least 28 pregnant women.”
Pregnant woman are urged to get the new vaccine pronto and so are other members of the population that may have compromised or fragile immune systems or in high risk situations: children, the elderly and health care workers.
Meanwhile, many in the population have been lining up in droves to get vaccinated. Still some (like me, admittedly) are staying away fearful that the unknown side-effects of this new untested vaccine may be worse than the actual virus. As the Washington Post reported, “several national surveys have found that only about 40 percent of Americans are sure they will get it, with those who are reluctant citing doubts about the severity of the virus and concerns about side effects.” See, I am not alone!
And if you are really freaked about this virus, do NOT WATCH, the National Geographic Channel’s series, “Swine Flu: The Science of Pandemics” because it will scare the bejeevies out of you.
A recent study found racial disparity among families opinions of the Swine Flu vaccine. People from minority communities, African Americans, I know for sure are hesitant and I believe part of it is cultural and comes from not trusting “the government”. Many of them are aware of controversial unethical studies like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments where between 1932 and 1972, the US government knowingly injected healthy black males with the Syphilis virus in Tuskegee, Alabama and withheld treatment to some in order to study the effects of the disease. Similarly, books and movies like The Constant Gardner, which tackles the controversial practice of pharmaceutical companies testing drugs on poor people in third world countries in Africa without their knowing consent, further fuels the fear of vaccines.
Not just minority populations are skeptical, the entire controversy over immunization shots for infants and children, in particular the MMR vaccine, is incubated from the unknown. In particular, many have linked a negative side effect of certain ingredients in some vaccines as leading to autism. At this point, there has been no definitive link but notwithstanding with celebrities like actress Jenny McCarthy who has been outspoken and is convinced there is a link based on their experiences (her now 7-year old son has autism), the fear is certainly there and festering and is not going away.
Thus, brings be back to my point, to vaccinate or no? Pregnant women and children are dying left and right from H1N1. At the same time, with the unknown effects of the disease, several pregnant women and parents I know are very quite concerned and hesitant about getting the new vaccine. Their time is running out as the supply of the H1N1 vaccine is critically low in many parts of the States, according to reports You have to take your chances and pick an option one way or the other.
The fear of the “unknown” is driving people to do some crazy things. I read in BabyCenter yesterday, how some parents are actually taking their children to “Swine Flu” parties to expose their kids to the virus while it is still in its somewhat mild stage. All evidence points to the strain still being conquerable until the flu season passes next February 2010, but some parents are not taking their chances. Health practitioners are calling this practice dangerous, and are discouraging parents from doing this. But all of the fear mongering in the media and from other sources have led people to take desperate measures.
Still, just this July, officials in Japan confirmed a mutation of H1N1 that is resistant to Tamiflu! EEk! So could this thing get any worse?
I know in my home, having a child recently diagnosed with the Swine Flu, we are taking extra steps to keep the rest of the household healthy. We’ve immunized the middle boy with the seasonal shot (because we fall on the side of the fence of fearing the unknown from the H1N1 vaccine) and are spraying Lysol on all door knobs and surfaces. We are also each taking daily doses of Sambucol, the natural virulogist developed serum that boosts your immunity and has been successful in my family in keeping away the sickies. My husband’s homeopathy-crazed cousin hipped us to this product years ago and I even blogged about it on my Other blog a while back.
From Baby Center
What symptoms should I watch for?
Swine flu symptoms in children and adults are pretty much the same as those for seasonal flu:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Chills and fatigue
- Sometimes, diarrhea and vomiting
If you develop the flu, you probably won’t have all those symptoms, but you’re likely to have some combination of them. Ruth Parker, a professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, says that if you have a fever, cough, and sore throat, it”s likely you have swine flu. If you don’t have all three symptoms (or a recent history of those symptoms), you probably don’t have swine flu.
Check out this CNN video about the skepticism of the vaccine:
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