As many of you are probably already aware, I have been debating getting the h1n1 vaccine for several weeks now, since my OBGYN told me (in no uncertain terms) that I’d be receiving one as soon as they become available.
My initial gut reaction was, “Um, no.”
Aside from the fact that the previous swine flu vaccine gave some 500 people Guilian Barre syndrome, and ignoring all your facebook posts that link to anti vaccine articles detailing the fact that the swine flu vaccine is actually made out of dead puppies’ cancer cells, here’s the thing:
I have an autistic child. The 10 year old. She has Asperger’s, which is a form of autism. And you can show me as many reports as you want stating how the MMR vaccine is perfectly safe and there is no evidence whatsoever that it in any way causes autism or pushes predisposed kids onto the spectrum, but you know what?
You don’t know. You weren’t there.
My kid was fine, until she got that shot. After that shot, she stopped talking, walking and socializing and started beating her head on the walls until it was black and blue.
While I don’t know that the shot itself directly caused the Aspergers, I am inclined to think that it’s probably highly likely that in some kids, who are already predisposed, something in the shot can push them over the edge. (Perhaps it was her size- she was one year old and weighed in at just 18 lbs). Maybe it was just too much for her system. Perhaps she just had some gene, that when mixed with an ingredient, just… you know, activated.
It’s very unlikely that you will be able to convince me that this shot was NOT the cause of, or at least trigger for, her issues. (And shit like this does not help my faith in the vaccine industry much.) You can try, and I’m always wiling to listen to and read opinions and studies, but the fact remains: I saw firsthand, the drastic change in my child after this shot, and I am obviously not the only one, or there wouldn’t be all these lawsuits and articles on the topic.
Having said all that, (and having experienced it) I feel I must point out this fact as well, which may seem counter-intuitive to you: I have vaccinated all of my subsequent children.
I waited, until the middle one was two, hoping that perhaps her immune system would be more mature and her size would make her better able to handle the shots, but she did get the shots. Despite everything, I did it. (Well, my ex-mother-in-law did it, technically, but I had every intention of doing it.)
The Kid has had all of her shots as well.
Why did I risk it, when I so strongly believe that the vaccine caused my daughters Autism?
Risk analysis. The benefits of being vaccinated far outweighed the risks of possibly triggering autism again. (Or any number of other possible side effects)
So, while I initially cringed at the idea of willingly being injected with a largely untested vaccine for a disease some claim is mostly hype anyway, I didn’t completely dismiss it out of hand.
Instead I did some research. After discarding the scare tactics of both the vaccine pushing drug companies and the government conspiracy anti vax-ing sites, I think I have boiled it down to a few key factors.
Right now, I am all three of these things. (Most likely, the immunity would pass to my unborn child) Even though I won’t likely recieve full immunity until after the baby is born, I am still considered high risk because of my health problems.
2- A statistically significant number of pregnant women have, in fact died, as a result of this flu. They don’t know for sure why, but pregnant woman are much more likely to develop severe complications as a result of this virus. Especially in the third trimester.
3- Perfectly healthy people are dying as well, which is unusual in a flu outbreak. A healthy, 28 year old woman in my county just died last week
4- I have a kid in public school. Even if I don’t leave the house for the next 6 months, she’s going to bring the flu home to me.
5- The risks of the vaccine, while not completely tested, should be on par with previous seasonal flu vaccines. They are made the same way, with the same haste, every year, and this one is undergoing the same testing, (or lack of) that they received . There is no indication of previous flu vaccines causing birth defects or other issues.
While I am fully aware that something could pop up ten or twenty years from now, the risks to both me and the baby today seem far greater than the theoretical risks of the vaccine. And when looked at objectively, stepping away from my knee-jerk, emotional “Vaccines gave my baby autism!” gut reaction, even I can see that I should probably get the damn shot.