vaccine'd up

I know the topic of whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccine is kind of a hot-button issue. A lot of parents are opting to skip it. I honestly don’t understand why, but my view on this issue is skewed. Catie’s asthma is severe enough that a bad cold can land us in the ER (and it has, twice). The thought of her getting the flu scares the bejeezus out of me. I don’t even want to try to think about how awful that would be.

Honestly, I don’t know if I would still feel strongly in favor of the H1N1 vaccine if Catie didn’t have a chronic respiratory illness. But there have been 86 children that have died from H1N1 this year so far. Sure, statistically that’s a very small number, but it’s still 86 too many. I can’t imagine what those parents are going through, but I imagine that if they could reverse time and get their children a vaccine that would prevent them from getting sick, they would. I also don’t know the conditions behind those deaths, if those children had other contributing factors that compromised their immune systems. But I know my kid, I know how her little lungs are not prepared for a severe flu, and I’m taking every imaginable step to prevent that from happening.

The problem is that no one seems to have the H1N1 vaccine. Anywhere. I saw on the local news this weekend that our county’s health department received 3000 doses, and that they’d open their clinics to give the H1N1 vaccine on Monday morning at 9 a.m. So today we got up early and drove to our nearest clinic (a good 30 minutes away) to be there when they opened. (Note: there are four different clinics in our county. I thought odds were good that the clinic we went to would be less crowded since it wasn’t the one in downtown Raleigh.) Clearly, we were not the only people who had that idea. There were literally hundreds of people there. The line wrapped around the building and down the block.

line at the health department
The best picture I could get. Doesn’t even begin to show just how many people were there.

Catie and I waited – and the line didn’t move at all – for about 10 minutes. Then I thought, hmm, I wonder about her pediatrician’s office? I had called them on Friday and they didn’t have the H1N1 vaccine, but if the health departments got a shipment over the weekend, maybe the private practices did too? (And also: why didn’t I think to call them before we left the house?)

I grabbed my cell phone & called, and the nurse said that they have “a limited supply for high-risk patients.” I said, “I have a two year-old with asthma, does that count?” She said yes, and asked if I could come right then. I said yes, and quickly got out of the mile-long health department line.

So, back into the car for the 30-minute drive back to town (thank goodness we were in Dave’s car so Catie could watch the Wiggles on the DVD player; I heard nary a peep of objection during all of this back-and-forth driving). Since we only had to see the nurse and not the doctor, they got us in and out of there in no time. We went ahead and got both the seasonal flu shot & the H1N1 (she’ll need a second dose of the H1N1 in a month). The shots were awful, of course. I had told Catie that the nurse was going to give her medicine so she wouldn’t get sick, but you know, a needle is a needle. She screamed and cried, until they whipped out the magic lollipop reward, then she was all happy and smiles again.

She hasn’t shown any signs of side effects so far, and I hope it stays that way. Now it’s just up to Dave and me to get our shots (Dave’s afraid of needles, so I’ll probably only be able to coerce him into the nasal mist kind). Because really? I do not need a repeat of last year’s trip to the hospital. In fact, if I could stay away from pediatric ERs for the rest of my life, that’d be fine with me.

9 thoughts on “vaccine'd up

  1. I got my regular flu shot through work. They’ll have the H1N1 shots as soon as they’re available. Who knows when that will be.

    I’m not taking any chances this year with any kind of BUG. 🙂

    Hope your week is good.

  2. So glad to hear you were able to get it. Scott was sick with the seasonal flu last week, and it was awful (he’s otherwise healthy and has now recovered). I got my flu shot through work and didn’t catch it. I feel terrible for my patients who haven’t been able to get their shots; a few have gotten sick and ended up hospitalized.

  3. We’ve opted against the H1N1 vaccine for both girls this year. They’ve both had their seasonal flu vaccine, but there are too many unknown factors and questions about the H1N1 vaccine for me to feel comfortable giving it to the girls. I discussed it at length with their ped today (who is affiliated with National Children’s Hospital) who agreed that since neither of them are high risk, that it was okay for them to not receive the vaccine. We’ll watch them closely and take them into the office at the first sign of any flu, to be treated with anti-viral meds.
    That being said, neither of my girls have chronic respiratory conditions. If they did, they’d probably be getting the vaccine. Glad you were able to get Catie’s.

  4. The H1N1 virus is everywhere by us now — and of course no one has the vaccine. We won’t be getting it because we’re not high risk. The news is reporting that the vaccine will be limited and only high risk patients will get it. At this point, we’ve all been exposed multiple times, so it’s not if, but when we get sick.

  5. We’re having the same discussion here and while I agree that the vaccine is important for high risk people, based on Miss C’s immune system, I think we are going to stick with the regular flu shot only. I got my regular vaccine through work and we all seem to be faring well. Hope everyone has a healthy season!

  6. There’s a sad story profiled in today’s NY Times health section. There’s an interesting exchange between the no-longer pregnant woman (her baby died after being delivered at 27 weeks) and the physical therapist. Pregnant women and children by far comprise the biggest risk groups for swine flu.

    “We have friends who get flu symptoms and say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to a doctor,’ ” Mr. Opdyke added. “And we say, ‘Do you not understand what we went through?’ I can’t imagine why there’s so much nonchalance.”

    That nonchalance strikes close to home.

    As they said this, Ms. Opdyke was doing her daily physical therapy, struggling to lift one-pound weights. Her therapist interrupted to announce that she opposed flu shots.

    “Have you ever read the labels?” she asked. “They’re so full of toxins.”

    Asked if she realized that a shot, had it existed in June, might have saved her client and her baby, she frowned and went back to her clipboard.

  7. Glad to hear that you were able to get the shot. From what I heard they don’t have it around here yet, but there have been several confirmed cases of H1N1, in fact one from a boy who lives a street over and has several classes at school with The Chicken. Altho thankfully I know this family and at the first instance of a sniffle she keeps her boy home because he was very sickly as a young child. I am still on the fence with the whole shots. I got the seasonal flu shot once and I had the worst flu I have ever had in my life. That was 12 years ago….hopefully things have changed. I know I should get it because of my asthma and the girls asthma….but I just don’t know.

  8. I’m glad you were able to get one. I was able to get one for my asthma kid, but they wouldn’t give me one or the other two kids. Which possibly defeats the purpose. But? I’m glad she got one.

    Two of my cousins kids have had it. Both ended up with double pneumonia too. (one is asthmatic.)

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