Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doctors who don't support H1N1 vaccine

I feel like I’m in the minority when people on the mom’s list I belong
to seem to be in a choir of wanting the vaccine, and wanting it fast.
Their doctors seem to advise the same.

I had been hesitant about the thought of getting it. It doesn’t seem
to be life-threatening to those without underlying health issues,
River has gotten a lot of vaccines in the first two years and I’d
rather not add an extra unless needed, we both had some type of flu
in September, which makes me think we could have had it already, and
River doesn’t spend a lot of time around other kids, where germs can
be easily spread. But the long lines of people eager for it give it a
more desirable air. I wondered if I was wrong to not want it.

So when I called my doctor to make a two-year-old check up appointment
and asked about the vaccine, I admit I felt slightly relieved when I
was told that their office is not giving it and doesn’t recommend it
except for children with chronic health problems. “It’s too new and
all the potential effects have not been tested,” the receptionist told
me when I asked why they weren’t recommending it. I later read the FDA packaging, which states that effects are not known in pregnant woman and children under the age of 4.

The doctors in this practice are primarily foreign born (Russian and
Indian), so perhaps they aren’t as subject to jumping on the U.S.
medical advice bandwagon. They do support vaccines in general. While
they supported my desire to get River vaccinated one at a time, they
do provide other patients with the usual vaccines on schedule.

It’s a hard decision to make and I know I might well make another
decision under other circumstances (such as if I was pregnant). I know
I could also regret it if River gets a horrible, painful case of H1N1.

In the meantime, I feel slightly better to not just being going with
my gut, but to have a doctor’s opinion behind my decision, even if she
is in the minority.

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