Thursday, October 7, 2010

Flu Shots?

Hi Ladies!

I wanted to ask you all something: Have you gotten or do you plan to get a flu shot this year?

I'm debating. Technically, according to "people who know," pregnant ladies (like myself!) are supposed to get the shot. However, I have real hesitations with unnecessary medications, and I think shots for common things are kinda silly. My dr. is leaving it entirely up to me and I'm at a loss!

What do you think?


Sarah Jane said...

FWIW I never had a flu shot with any of my pregnancies. In fact I don't think I ever have had a flu shot in my life.

I'd skip it. :) I agree that shots for common things are pretty darn silly.

Mrs. G said...

Umm, is this the announcement or did I miss the announcement?!? Dear me, CONGRATULATIONS!
About the shot, I'd run far from it. All of the mercury that may be present would be a massive overdose for a tiny not-yet-born baby. I'd try to avoid any drugs/medications if possible, even over the counter ones for this reason.
Mrs. G

Jenny P. said...

Mrs. G, you missed it! I announced on Monday! :) I'm nine weeks along so far.

Thanks for your thoughts; that's the direction I was leaning. I got the MMR shot like a good little American public school child... and suffered the mumps my freshman year of college. I don't have a lot of faith in vaccinations, but I wasn't sure due to the whole change in condition :)

Amy said...

Congratulations!! I must have missed it too! Wow, that's wonderful news! As for the shot, I never take flu shots either for myself or my child (or while pregnant). I don't do immunizations either.

Gillian said...

My doctor always tells me to get a flu shot (I'm diabetic, which apparently puts me at greater risk....?) and I've had it the last few years, but I always end up getting some form of flu anyway, usually several months after the shot, so I'm not sure it's worth the money and the possible side effects. I think I'm going to skip it this year and see how I do!

AwaydownSouth said...

I say, "No!"

Organizing Mommy said...

No on flu shots. It's a gimmick, and I'm not playing.

erikaphelps said...

Hey Jenny,

I never get the flu shot. I got it once--in 4th grade--and that is the only year I've suffered the flu! But, influenza does kill people. It's probably a good idea for many people to get the shot. Scientists choose the most virulent strain(s) predicted in the season to make the vaccine against. They can't get them all, which means there are other strains out there that you are not protected against, and that's why people can still get the flu, even if they've had the shot. Anyway, fully healthy young adults are very able to recover from the flu. Yes, pregnancy brings down your resilience slightly, but you're probably a-okay.

But as for other, vaccinations that your child will be strongly advised to should really carefully consider it. There is growing opposition to vaccinations and general distrust, which I understand, but you should educate yourself thoroughly from both sides of the issues before you make those decisions.

It's a fact that vaccinations have virtually eliminated many fatal childhood diseases, while other children around the world without the opportunity to get the shots perish from these "rare" (not so much in other places!) illnesses. Vaccines aren't 100% effective against all strains of the diseases (as you experienced!!) but it does significantly increase herd immunity. If too many people opt out of immunizing, our immunity will go down and we'll start to see these diseases again...and lose our children to them.

(I have to admit that I laughed when I learned about the chickenpox vaccine. I can't believe they require that. But then, even that disease is sometimes fatal! And with more research, scientists have learned things about shingles that is contrary to what we used to be taught that has made the case for the chickenpox vaccine.)

Anyway, it's up to you, but please make sure you're looking at things objectively when making future immunization choices! Not all research is to be trusted, for sure, but for the most part the scientific community is doing TONS of research for very little pay for the BENEFIT of our communities(researchers doing basic biomedical research, like my colleagues here at the NIH, are the lowest paid professionals--having earned PhDs--in the nation). It's the pharmaceutical companies that are in it for the buck, so just look at the affiliations, grantees, and acknowledgments when looking at the research to see whether it's true or may be biased!
Steer clear of the research touted in the media, and look for stuff in or good old google scholar--primary source material!

Good luck!


erikaphelps said...

*sigh* I just typed up a big long response to this, and then when I tried to post it, it got lost.

The basic gist of it was asking you to please, please make sure to get objective opinions about immunizations for your child. There's a lot of bad research out there, but there's far more good. The vast majority of researchers are out working WAAAAAAAY overtime, with very little pay, to BENEFIT their communities, not harm them. (My NIH colleagues, for example, at the post-doc level are the lowest paid professionals--having earned PhDs-- in the nation, and they're working long hours and frequently on weekends with no overtime pay.) The pharmaceutical companies are the ones in it for the buck. So when looking for research, don't go to what's touted by the media, but rather to the primary source material where you can read about affiliations, grantees, etc. to decide what bias it might have, if any. is an excellent source, and I can use my NIH account to get articles for free for you if you find any that require payment.

I haven't watched this yet, but it was recommended to me when I was having a discussion about the pros and cons of vaccinations and the growing distrust in American communities.

I, too, never get the flu shot. The shot is made for only a handful of the strains that we will face this coming winter, so there are many strains we'll not be protected against anyway. And I'm a healthy, non-immunocompromised adult.

But it's a fact that the very reason many diseases that were once common in the US are considered 'rare' is because of our vaccination program. We now have very well developed herd immunity against diseases which still claim the lives of children in countries whose populations do not have access to these vaccines. If too many people stop immunizing their children here in the US, our collective immunity will drop, and we may begin to lose our children again. It would be devastating to let our guard down now that we've come so far.

Anyway, make your own decision, but ensure it's well-informed (with TRUSTWORTHY research sources).


erikaphelps said...

Huh. So my original post decided to show itself. Oh well, now you have 2. :)

Jenny P. said...

Hey Erika,

I know this is your pet project, I was curious to see what you'd say :)

Just FYI -- we're definately getting the classic ones, like polio, whooping cough, etc. As for the newer ones (chicken pox? really?) we've got time to do our research. I may hit you up on doing some searches for me a little further down the line.

Thanks for your input!