Since I’m still searching for some H1N1 flu vaccine for my pregnant daughter, I thought I’d pass on some information I’ve researched.
Even the U.S. Senate is voicing dismay at the shortage of swine flu vaccine while swine flu begins to peak in the U.S. I can’t find any in Oregon. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) site had a “Flu Vaccine Locator” section on the site yesterday, but I couldn’t find it on the site today. I had checked all the Oregon locations listed anyway, but none of them had the vaccine so the locator was not accurate.
According to a study conducted by Purdue University, the vaccine will arrive too late for most people.
Here’s a statement of advice from the CDC site:
What can I do to protect myself, my baby and my family?
Getting a flu shot is the single best way to protect against the flu. Talk with your doctor about getting a seasonal flu shot and the 2009 H1N1 flu shot. You will need both flu shots this year to be fully protected against flu. You should get both shots as soon as they are available to protect you and your baby. The seasonal flu shot has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby (up to 6 months old) from flu-like illness.
Talk with your doctor right away if you have close contact with someone who has 2009 H1N1 flu. You might need to take medicine to reduce your chances of getting the flu. Your doctor may prescribe Tamiflu® or Relenza® to help prevent 2009 H1N1 flu. To prevent flu, you would take a lower dose of the antiviral medicine for 10 days.
Is it safe for pregnant women to get a flu shot?
The seasonal flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. The 2009 H1N1 flu shot is made in the same way and in the same places as the seasonal flu shot. It is very important for pregnant women to get both the seasonal flu shot and the 2009 H1N1 flu shot. Please see http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/ to learn more.
Here’s an important study underway for pregnant women and the swine flu vaccine: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/QA/H1N1pregnanttrials.htm.
The religious character of the debate
Like many things in society, the swine flu vaccine debate has taken on an atmosphere resembling a religious dispute: Some people are vehemently against any type of vaccine, including this one, for a variety of reasons: It supposedly causes autism and other problems in kids, it’s a government plot to kill people, etc. The internet is full of “supposed” evidence backing up these claims, but I find the evidence is typically anecdotal, therefore faulty. It simply does not hold up to scientific scrutiny.
Those people who insist the H1N1 epidemic is nothing to worry about, and that the swine flu vaccine is more dangerous than the flu it is intended to prevent, have a good chance of being able to brag about being correct when this swine flu scare is all over. That is because few diseases ever reach their full potential to be truly lethal to mankind, especially in this modern age of health prevention and care. The same is true for swine flu: Chances are it will pass, illnesses will continue to be mild, and the anti-vaccine crowd will say, “See, I told you so!.”
The problem is that this is like running stop lights all over town. Chances are you’ll get away with running stop lights for quite a while, but one day you’ll run a stop light and get hit broadside by a big truck. Then you’ll wish you had stopped at all the stop lights to make sure it’s safe to cross.
The history of humanity is the history of diseases ravaging human populations, often displacing entire populations. It happened in this country with “old world” diseases killing off 95% of native populations in the 100 years after the arrival of Columbus in 1492. And it happened repeatedly in Europe and Asia and Africa before that time. This is where a study of history is so valuable, but most people do not read history. Only a couple of hundred years ago, George Washington saved the Continental Army by vaccinating his troops (an early crude method) against smallpox at Valley Forge so they could come out of their winter quarters and be an effective force against the British. As recently as 1918 a flu killed millions of Americans because we had no protection against it.
Now we have a method — vaccination — of preventing diseases from killing us. It’s not perfect, we are often wrong about which disease poses a significant risk, and sometimes various vaccines have side effects, but it’s a method I bet the Indians wished they had when Columbus arrived. But there are so many people in our society who have no idea of what has happened in the past, and who have little understanding what constitutes reasonable scientific evidence, that they willingly believe the dubious anti-vaccine literature that pollutes the internet.
I’m merely trying to find a way to keep my pregnant daughter and my other children and grandkids safe, but I have to wade through piles of intellectual rubbish as I search the internet.