swine flu jabs for young children good or bad idea????

Sarah - posted on 12/31/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )




my children have been asked to have the swine flu jab but i dont know if to have it done or not not my oldest is 3yrs old and my youngest is 1yr old has anybodys children had them done and do you know the side affects??? im confused!!!!


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April - posted on 01/19/2010




oh yeah, but like with all shots, give them tylenol or motrin either right before or after.

April - posted on 01/19/2010




I would just like to say, I got my 19 month the H1N1 shot and he is perfectly fine. There are side effects, but I don't think they are that common. I would say go for it and get them vaccinated.

Jessica - posted on 01/19/2010




I had myself and my 6 year old son vaccinated against swine flu and my daughter is breastfeeding so she gets it thru me. I thought long and hard about it and talked with my doctor and decided that vaccinating was the right choice for our family. I hope there are no long-term side effects bu so far we are all doing fine.

Lorraine - posted on 01/19/2010




During past pandemics, a third or more of the entire population has got flu, and the risks of flu killing you or causing nasty problems such as Guillain-Barré syndrome are far greater than those of the vaccines.

This flu isn't always mild and unlike ordinary flu it mostly kills young people, including the healthy (see diagram). You might be one of the unlucky few. And even if you only get the mild version yourself, you might infect a family member or friend who then becomes severely ill. So doing nothing is risky, even if the odds are low.

What about the vaccines? People's nervousness about swine flu vaccines is understandable. In 1976, after the death of a US army recruit triggered fears of a repeat of the deadly 1918 pandemic, around 48 million Americans were given a swine flu vaccine. Of these, 532 developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic condition caused by rogue antibodies attacking nerve cells. Most people recover from Guillain-Barré, but not all; 25 died after 1976 and others suffered lasting damage.

Fears from the 1970s
The 1976 vaccine caused around 10 cases per million vaccinated. Even ordinary flu vaccines, however, are thought to cause one extra case of Guillain-Barré per million, in addition to the 10 to 20 per million who get Guillain-Barré some other way every year.

Does this mean it is safer not getting vaccinated? Absolutely not. First, there is the risk of swine flu killing you. Second, what few people know is that flu itself is far more likely to cause Guillain-Barré than any flu vaccine.

A 2009 study found that out of every million people who get flu, between 40 and 70 develop Guillain-Barré. So your best chance of avoiding Guillain-Barré is to get vaccinated, a conclusion backed by a 2007 study.

The vaccine risk is also diminishing. Cases of Guillain-Barré in the US have fallen 20 per cent since 1996, and cases reported after flu vaccination have fallen by 60 per cent. Intriguingly, this coincides with a fall in infections by the food poisoning bacterium Campylobacter, thanks to improved meat hygiene. Guillain-Barré usually follows infections, and Campylobacter is the main cause. It is also endemic among chickens, and flu vaccines are grown in chicken eggs. So the occasional contamination of flu vaccines with Campylobacter proteins might explain the link with Guillain-Barré, according to a 2004 study.

The new vaccines
That is reassuring, if true. If the problem in 1976 was contamination rather than some property of the virus, there is no reason to expect a repeat. There has never been a similar problem with any other vaccine. And almost all the pandemic vaccines now being given in the US, the UK and Australia are being made in the same plants and in the same way as ordinary flu vaccines. Only two proteins on the vaccine virus have been changed, to match the 2009 H1N1 virus, and these proteins are similar to those of seasonal H1N1 flu, which have been in vaccines since 1977.

The exception is Celvapan. It contains the whole, killed pandemic virus, not a vaccine virus with pandemic proteins, and the virus is grown in cells rather than eggs – making it safe for people with egg allergy. While it and a similar bird flu vaccine have undergone safety testing, no seasonal flu vaccine has yet been made this way.

Another potential worry are the immune-stimulating chemicals called adjuvants that are added to some vaccines. The World Health Organization asked countries to make pandemic vaccines with adjuvants because much less of the key ingredient, dead flu virus, is needed per dose – meaning far more doses can be produced. The US could not do this because no seasonal flu vaccines with adjuvants had already been tested and approved there. In Europe they have been, so the main pandemic vaccines being given in Europe – Pandemrix (PDF) and Focetria – do contain adjuvants.

All the pandemic vaccines have had their own safety tests, and almost all are based on seasonal flu vaccines used for years. But very rare side effects can only be detected when millions take them. The seasonal flu vaccines with adjuvants have mostly been given to older people, so we cannot yet be sure that these vaccines do not have very rare side effects in younger people. Celvapan has had no large-scale monitoring. But here are some odds we do know about to consider.

The odds
The risk of getting Guillain-Barré from a flu vaccine is almost certainly less than 1 in a million; the risk of getting it from flu itself is more than 40 in a million. Swine flu is estimated to have killed 800 people in the US already, or more than 2 in every million so far. And during the first wave of swine flu this summer, 1 out of every 20,000 children aged 4 or under in the US ended up in hospital.

Still think it's safer not to get vaccinated?

Michelle - posted on 12/31/2009




All four of my children from 6 yrs to 20 months had the immunization along with the seasonal flu. They had no side effects. My ped recommended it and I figure it can't hurt them any worse than actually getting the swine flu.

Science Daily that talks about early results in children who take the H1N1 vaccine.

Barbara - posted on 12/31/2009




Quoting Cori:

i personally wont be getting the swine flu shot for myself or my son (my husband doesnt have a choice because he is active duty military) the vaccine was rushed through production and testing and just like the bird flu vaccine when that pandemic went around years ago, there will be long term side effects that havent been noticed yet, like the bird flu vac. was linked to Guillen-Barrette syndrome in later life. just be careful of new vaccines and do what feels right to you.

It is true that there was a flu scare in the late '70's which sent everyone to get vaccines but didn't end up making anyone sick with the flu, and a few people did develop Guillaume-Barre syndrome from the vaccine.  A few people will probably have a bad reaction to the vaccine this time as well. 

However, this flu actually is pandemic.  There is a real risk of catching it and dying from it.  My father in law works in the emergency room in our town, and he says the place is full of young, normally healthy people (including little children) on ventillators with potentially fatal pneumonia.  I know of people who have recently died from this virus, though I've never personally heard of anyone who has gotten guillaume-barre from a vaccine, let alone this vaccine.  To us, a real risk that is affecting the general population trumps a possible risk that would only affect a small portion of the population who are predisposed to having a reaction to vaccines.

I do, however, respect your concerns.  Lots of my friends are forgoing vaccines in general.  We almost did ourselves, but ended up being too mathematically minded to fully agree with that point of view.

Bethany - posted on 12/31/2009




We don't get flu vaccines at all. In my opinion, the benefits do not outweigh the risks, and I don't like to unnecessarily mess with our immune systems. If you want a fairly unbiased opinion and the facts, try going to http://www.askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook...

Dr Sears is overall pro-vaccination, but lays out the facts so parents can make educated decisions for themselves. If you go to that page, he has two long posts on the H1N1 shot. You have to scroll down a little ways; the posts with relevant info are the 2nd and 3rd ones. He lays out the side effects, benefits and drawbacks. You could also look up seasonal flu shots on his site for more information. Basically, the H1N1 shot is just the deadened H1N1 virus placed in a normal flu shot instead of the seasonal virus. There has been no testing of the H1N1 effectiveness on anyone, but there shouldn't be any side effects that don't occur with all flu vaccines. In theory, that is. :) Like I said, we never get them.

Good luck! It's a hard issue with lots of vehement opinions on both sides. I totally understand your confusion!

Cori - posted on 12/31/2009




i personally wont be getting the swine flu shot for myself or my son (my husband doesnt have a choice because he is active duty military) the vaccine was rushed through production and testing and just like the bird flu vaccine when that pandemic went around years ago, there will be long term side effects that havent been noticed yet, like the bird flu vac. was linked to Guillen-Barrette syndrome in later life. just be careful of new vaccines and do what feels right to you.

Krista - posted on 12/31/2009




There are very few side effects that have been recorded in regards to the swine flu vaccine. My son is 2 and had the vaccine and he was completely fine. He didn't even complain that his arm hurt. There ARE chances that your children could be harboring a genetic defect that could be triggered by this, but that holds true for any injection that your children get. And these defects are EXTREMELY rare.

Consider this.....the swine flu is killing people who are and were previously healthy. There have been no underlying issues for most of the people who have died from it.

At this point, if there hasn't been a huge uncovered conspiracy about the vaccine, I think you're safe. However, it's a personal choice.

Barbara - posted on 12/31/2009




My son (who will be 2 in Feb.) has had the vaccine. He had absolutely no side effects, though they said some people get a mild fever or swelling/pain at the injection site. I was leery at first about taking him to get it, but when I researched the potential risk of him getting the virus versus having a bad reaction to the vaccine, the risk of getting the virus was significantly greater. We've all been vaccinated at this point, and are none the worse for it. (so far anyway ;))

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