Monday, October 26, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine for Pregnant Women

Wow! It is such a controversial subject. It seems like it is split into 2 very opinionated groups of yes, you need to get it and no, don't get it. Everyone else falls into the "I don't know enough about it to decide."

I didn't actually think I would have to decide if I wanted to get it as a pregnant woman because it didn't seem like it would even be available to pregnant women until after I delivered. But today my doctor's nurse called and said they got a shipment in that was only going to pregnant women and to get in right away to get one (before I deliver & they run out.)

Honestly, I still don't know how I really feel about it. I am torn between both sides. The media has scared me enough to think that I need to get it, but on the flip side I don't feel enough testing has been done to know enough about the effects (long-term & short-term) of the vaccine.

Of course, I get this same message on the same day we were supposed to go to a Halloween party at which 2 kids would be there that got their diagnosis' of H1N1 4 & 5 days ago. The CDC recommends them staying away from other kids 7 days, up to 10 days for young kids. Well, we had not been around them in a couple of weeks, so we were not exposed to them during their incubation period and the mom said that the clinic told them as long as they were fever free for 24 hours they could go out, this is the same clinic that requires their workers to stay home for 7 days if they get the diagnosis. I am not about to chance it seeing we are healthy so far and have not been exposed to them.

I am sure we have been exposed to other people with it, but not in the type of setting (yet) where the kids are sharing toys, toys that some kids might stick in their mouths. And even if Isabel doesn't put toys in her mouth she could touch it and then stick her hands in her mouth when feeding herself a snack. Not worth it to me to go to a costume party (see the costume I made this morning below).

Anyways, I guess pregnant women have a weakened immune system as it is (even if I am healthy and have been this pregnancy) so that they don't reject the fetus and remains weakened for a couple weeks afterwards as their body recovers from the birth.

They do have thermisol-free vaccines and the round our clinic has is that kind. And while I could give birth this afternoon and he would not receive any of the benefits, my body still produces antibodies in response that he will recieve in the breastmilk.

They also say that healthy adults older than 60 probably are already immune to it because they were exposed to it as children and developed anitbodies against it. Although, my MIL got it and she should fall into this age group. Maybe she wasn't exposed to it as a child.

I don't want to be trying to recover from delivery and have an infant and a preschooler and deal with the flu in our house. And while I think there needs to be more testing done on the long term effects, the reality is that if people do die from H1N1, it has been those with weakened immune systems and not all of them have underlying health conditions. I understand that more people die from the seasonsal flu each year (so far), but we have only had the swine flu around during the spring, this is really the first big season of H1N1 and we don't know how many people may die from it or not.

I decided to get the vaccine. Daddy was a big supporter of me getting it to provide a level of protection to baby boy & myself. I did get the seasonal flu vaccine about 3.5 weeks ago. And to be honest, it could be that I have a strong immune system but I have not had the seasonal flu (only stomach flu which is not what the vaccine is for) since I started recieving yearly flu shots. The last time I had the seasonal flu it was almost 12 years ago and I am not sure how much longer before that.

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