Edited by AbbyGrant - 7/8/12 at 1:34pm
I never get the flu vaccine. My husband always does. usually, neither of us gets the flu. I have been on the fence about getting it for my daughter, but we probably will. There's some info here. I did not realize, for example, that hte first year you get your child immunized for flu they need two shots (one to prime and one to provide immunity)
I'm curious what some more informed mamas say as well.
I'm like you. Researched *a little*. We are currently not vaxxing for the girls' boosters, but I chose to forgo the flu vaccine even when we were on schedule*. I think it had a lot to do with what you said and enough was enough. I also felt that it was not such a sure-fire preventative. Individuals are not able to say, after a flu-free season, that they were free of the flu because of the vaccine. I haven't had the flu for 10 years or more and haven't vaxxed in any year but one. No, you have to look at the collected data (after the fact, and each year is different) and still, flu statistics are tricky, not the least of which it is not usually diagnosed by a lab when reported.
That's pretty much the extent of what I've given thought to, and I hope others have a bit more research under their belts.
*Which, said an irritated nurse at the hospital, makes us not on schedule. Hmph!
I checked the Cochran reviews last winter and the flu vaccine isn't any better than placebo for kids under 2. Since our daughter is a baby, we skipped it this year and will next year too. After that I'll look into it again as she grows. I'm a health care provider and so I always get it to protect my patients, but I don't know if it's considered necessary for household contacts of healthcare providers--that will factor in to our decision if so. My husband always gets the vaccine too just because he doesn't want to get the flu.
We skip the flu vaccine, because it is formulated based on the best guess as to which flu virus will go around each year. Because its different every year (this year being the exception, because it was the same as last year I believe), and herd immunity is based on the guess being right, we just take our chances.
I do not typically vaccinate for the flu.
I am non-vax, so I guess this is no surprise.
"The best guess" does not do it for me, moreover I do not think the flu is dangerous for most people.
Sadly, my youngest is prone to lung infections.
We did get the flu this year (and it was a doozy!), and my youngest developed a secondary infection of pneumonia, for which we spent 5 days at out local children's hospital. This is not her first lung infection - it is the first time she needed to be hospitalized for it.
I made post a month ago or so trying to figure out if DD was a good candidate for the flu vaccine, or if perhaps she should get a pneumonia vaccine, and am still in research mode. The pneumonia vaccines do not prevent all types of pneumonia, and I do not know if they prevent the kind that comes on after the flu. Here is a link to the post:
Suffice to say that if the pneumonia vaccine can prevent or help prevent DD from getting a lung infection after something like the flu, that is the route we will go. The flu is not dangerous for many people, but some people are prone to secondary infections that can be dangerous, and DD might be one of them.
I would prefer one vaccine that lasts about 10 years and covers pneumonia which is the real concern, than yearly pokes of a "best guess".
My dd did when the schools gave it for free the year H1N1 was really bad, it was the mist not the spray though. She hated it and is also oppossed to getting the flu shot so I don't have her get it. I didn't even know there were flu shots until I had my dd so it doesn't seem important to me. I have also heard that the shots are based on the flu strain of the year before and only about 50% effective. I am not sure how accurate that is but we aren't at risk so I am not willing to subject my child to a yearly shot or nauseating and painful spray just in case this is the year she actually does get the flu.
Not usually no. Here's (UK) if I recall it's only strongly recommended for people who are at high risk of flu complications. I did get it when I was pregnant the year of H1N1 (I got both seasonal and H1N1 at the same time) because I was concerned over what I'd read about the risks of pregnant women getting flu. That same year I had my daughter get the shot too - I think just H1N1. She was 3. It's the only shot she ever got with any reaction - she had a high fever and was miserable for about 24 hours. But I didn't/don't regret the choice to have her have it - at the time I was concerned about how widespread H1N1 would be and I thought having her get the vaccine was the best way I could help to protect her.
Neither my husband nor myself have ever received a flu shot. I used to work in a position that had me on the road going house to house across the state and neighboring states and even during the worst of flu seasons I never got sick. My husband works for a Class A fire department where thy also do EMS runs, and while he could be considered a health professional and the department does offer and recommend flu shots, he does decline them. Our DD is 7mos and she will not be vaxed for the flu. I feel that she's healthy enough to fight it off is she does come down with it and I just don't like taking a gamble with something so unpredictable as the odds being as low as 50%. We had a cold run through our house when she was 3 mos...DH first, then her, then me....she and I faired the best with a 7day duration, DH was more like 2 weeks. Second cold to pass through she was about 5mos, again brought in by daddy, I got hit 2nd and it lasted a week....DD had nothing! So for anyone who is healthy overall, no underlying issues, skipping the flu vax shouldn't be an issue. My understanding is that it's not meant to eliminate the flu entirely anyways, but lessen severity. I can do that with homeopathics and mega dose vit c :-)
The "best guess" is definitely not that reassuring. For some reason, though, the flu originates in Asia (why is that?) and their guesses are based on the strains that are arising there, and which ones are likely to be a problem in North America when our flu season starts. From what I have read over the years, these scientists (epidemiologists?) seem pretty confident in regards to their decisions.
Still, like others have said, being a yearly shot with a relatively small chance of preventing illness (compared with other vaccines) I avoid it.
As per the pneumonia shot: I am not sure what it prevents and what it doesn't. My then-fully-vaxxed daughter developed pneumonia following a bad cold and just barely squeaked by having to go to the hospital. We treated her at home with a nebulizer and antibiotics.
We have gotten it the past couple of years as a protective measure for our youngest and we should probably continue as a protective measure for my husband who has to take immunosuppressive drugs for a condition that he has. It would be more serious for him to get the flu than your average healthy individual.
Because of her asthma, my youngest dd is at high risk for flu complications. She gets the shot. The rest of us get the mist to help give her a little herd immunity.
I know it's a best guess as to the strain that will cause this year's outbreak. My dd's first (and so far, only) hospitalization cost $6K out-of-pocket, after insurance. That doesn't include the cost of 4x daily nebulized meds she was on for the rest of that year's flu season and for basically all of the next year's ($150 for a month's supply for each of two different meds she was on). Or the antibiotics for the other times she got pneumonia. Please note, she really is a really healthy kid, until she gets sick. Once she's sick, she's really really sick. And when she's at her sickest, she's very expensive. I can't afford for her to be very expensive every winter. I do what I can to keep the costs down. The flu shot doesn't offer any guarantees, but we have stayed healthy through a few flu outbreaks, and my dd hasn't needed to be hospitalized again. Flu and basically all of the other VPDs can have pneumonia as a complication or a sequel, so we are pretty vigilant about staying on schedule.
It would be awesome for us if more people got the flu shot - more herd immunity = lower chances of exposure for my vulnerable kid. But I can understand why many people don't bother.
It's not really a "guess". Epidemiology isn't 100%, but it's pretty sophisticated these days.
We get it. Real flu is miserable.
As for pneumonia, there are multiple viruses and bacteria that can cause it. Pneumonia describes the condition, not the underlying infection. Pneumococcal vaccines (Prevnar/Pneumovax) protect against 7/13/23 strains of one bacterium that causes pneumonia.
prosciencemum, you're right that the NHS has not yet rolled out universal flu vaccination--though IIRC they do now give pregnant ladies the jab.
FWIW, my mom had a moderately annoying reaction the one time she had the vaccine (she came over faint after getting it), but I've had the vaccine several times with zero incident. Anecdotal, I know, but it makes me think if your only concern is how your kids might react the same way as you, you might also factor in if/how they've reacted to other shots, other similarities and differences they've exhibited from you in how they react to things, etc. In our case, my mom tends to be pretty sensitive and prone to weird reactions to things, and I am generally pretty healthy. Of course, you may have already done this consideration and didn't go into detail in your post, in which case feel free to ignore my comment. :)