Friday, October 30, 2009

Swine Flu

Friends and family keep asking me about my take on the swine flu vaccine.  We've decided not to do the vaccine due to my concerns that it may have unknown side effects that we aren't yet aware of because it has been rushed to market.  My understanding is that the 1976 vaccine for swine flu was rushed to market and was associated with, but never proven to cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Since this rare nerve disorder is understood to be partially autoimmune and we have Celiac Disease (autoimmune) in the family, we aren't going there.  We do the annual flu shots - 'cause having the flu is so crummy and I feel like the shots have decent safety records.  Most of the media reports I hear are that H1N1 has similar mortality rates as regular seasonal flu, but of course, more targeted to younger populations - likely due to some cross protection from a prior strain that circulated.  Today I went surfing on the CDC to find the mortality rate data.  Sadly, I didn't find exactly what I was looking for - # of deaths per 1,000 cases.  If you find that data, I'd like you to send me the link.  I did find this interesting chart regarding the flu deaths.  This season's curve doesn't look so bad yet, until you realize that this is only week 41 and that the other week 41's aren't really even on the upslope of the curve.  We all know that this swine flu continued through the summer (you can see that in pink in the graph above) and is getting going again early this season - but wow - the curves really say a lot.  If you add a normal flu season onto this swine flu curve, it is going to be pretty big.  Yikes!  I hope I'm making the right decision.  I realize that it is highly likely that our family will get the swine flu and feel terrible with it.  I just hope we won't have any serious consequences from it, like the side effects I fear from a rushed vaccine.  All our schools around here have LOTS of H1N1, include DS's preschool as of this week.

1 comment:

  1. A friend, Jill, sent me this comment that she wasn't able to post: My mom has terminal cancer and is in hospice care. The hospice nurses are very aware of colds and flu and take every precaution they can to make sure that their patients are protected from them. (Them being the nurses themselves). With their lower immunity, cancer patients are especially vulnerable to common illnesses we'd just shrug off. None of the hospice nurses that care for my mom are getting the swine flu shot. It is too new, not researched enough, and they do not feel that the cancer population is at risk of swine flu to any degree to be alarmed. They are far more worried about things like pneumonia or the regular flu.