that's a great article- thank you
opinions on the flu shot - Page 3
At my last visit to the doctor (four days ago) she started with the encouragement (see also: subtle threats) for me to get the flu shot and I'm not convinced. I would say I'm more pro-knowledge than anti-vaccination, so I've been doing my research (and when I say research, I literally mean reading recent, peer-reviewed studies first-hand, not Googling things).
So far my conclusion is that if a woman is high-risk for any reason and due when we're all due (i.e., around peak flu time), then it might be worth getting the shot, since it doesn't necessarily seem dangerous. There are a handful of sketchy studies that really push it but the few I found that seemed balanced basically said that vaccination prevented influenza in pregnant women in numbers that were noticeable but not statistically significant (which means they couldn't necessarily prove that they weren't primarily due to chance alone). An argument my doctor made to me was that it was "insurance" that you're baby would be less likely to get infected because they have weak immune systems for "the first 18 months of their lives" (which is actually more like the first 6 months, but way to exaggerate for dramatic effect Doctor Awesome), but if you were to get the flu during pregnancy, the baby would theoretically receive the same antibodies that would be found in the vaccine without all the added nonsense ingredients and without bombarding your body with a sudden injection of a foreign matter. Plus, if you're breastfeeding your baby has some pretty great support against such things. I asked her if extra vitamins would pass through breast milk, since I usually manage my illnesses with extra vitamin C and she, of course, didn't know - though she then added that vitamin C only protects against cold, not influenza, so it wouldn't matter (this is insanely wrong). I'm hoping she was just having an off day because the things she was saying made me lose a lot of faith in her.
Jess, even though the vaccine doesn't contain a live virus, it is still something for your immune system to suddenly have to deal with, so I'm not surprised when some people say they get sick every time they get vaccinated - that's also why they don't recommend that you receive a vaccine when you're not feeling well. When I was in high school and waiting in line to get my (mandatory) TD booster, I mentioned to the nurses that I wasn't feeling quite right but they wrote it off as nerves and gave me the shot anyway. I spent that night in the hospital because it turns out I had strep throat and the vaccine (also not live) had distracted my immune system so much that my early case of strep throat suddenly became so severe that my throat was extremely swollen and I kept passing out with high fever. Also, I work in a hospital too where I was unofficially told that flu shots are mandatory and I simply told them that they could unofficially shove it. They seem to have left me alone since.
I would be really interested to know if there is a study regarding the flu and breastfed infants vs. the flu shot in the mother and breastfed infants.
My understanding may be completely wrong here, but I thought that with something like chicken pox (I realize this is totally different from the flu), if the mother had chicken pox she has built antibodies against it and those antibodies are passed through the breastmilk during a time that the infant could be seriously ill if ch. pox was contracted. However if mother never had ch. pox, but was given the vaccine, she doesn't have natural antibodies and relies on her booster shots to keep her body resistant to it. Since she has no natural antibodies, none are passed to her breastfed infant.
So... if this is actually correct... I wonder if there would be some similar effect with the flu. If mom gets the flu, it sucks but she's building antibodies and baby is getting them through the milk. If mom gets the flu shot during pregnancy and is exposed to the flu after the birth, would baby be more likely to get it because mom isn't transferring any antibodies during the exposure??
The baby should be getting passive immunity from the mother via the flu shot, as she will create antibodies, at least for a time. For most intents and purposes, it should be equal (since the flu mutates so much, which is why no one has permanent immunity to "the" flu). Just my understanding.
Anyone thinking about getting the flu vaccine should ask their Dr. where the vaccine is from. There's a big review going on of Novartis flu vaccines. A few countries have halted giving it out (including Canada) and some is being recalled.