Should I get a Flu Shot? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 26 Old 10-08-2005, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi, I am almost 24 weeks pregnant. I have been noticing flu shots offered at the grocery strore and other locations. I have read pregnant women are at high risk. what I want to know is, if i get a flu shot, are there side effects that could hurt the pregnancy or is the threat of the flu a bigger threat than the shot? what do you all think. are you getting a flu shot during this pregnancy?
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#2 of 26 Old 10-08-2005, 10:26 PM
 
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My personal opinion is no way, no how. The flu shots contain mercury (plus a lot of other nasty stuff, I'm sure), and they don't cover every strain of flu anyway. I'd much rather take my chances with an illness my body is probably familiar with than have the certainty that I've injected toxins into my body. I get enough of those elsewhere!

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#3 of 26 Old 10-08-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EllasMama
My personal opinion is no way, no how. The flu shots contain mercury (plus a lot of other nasty stuff, I'm sure), and they don't cover every strain of flu anyway. I'd much rather take my chances with an illness my body is probably familiar with than have the certainty that I've injected toxins into my body. I get enough of those elsewhere!

Carol
This pretty much covers my feelings about it. I definitely wouldn't want any vax w/thimerosol while pregnant. And I think the only flu vax without thimerosol is the nasal spray, which contains the live virus, and is not reccomended for pregnant women. The flu shot each year is made from a few of the worst strains from the previous years. I did get the flu last year, but most years I don't. Plus, you can get the flu from the flu shot, which has happened to my mom a few times.
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#4 of 26 Old 10-09-2005, 05:48 PM
 
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I also won't be getting it. They do make a vaccine that is thimerosol free, but it's hard to get. I just don't see how "they" can tell us to stay away from mercury poisoned fish, but then tell us to get mercury filled vaccines! I just don't understand!

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#5 of 26 Old 10-09-2005, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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they are giving one at Wild Oats market that thimerasol free but I am still nervous about it. maybe I will skip it too. But I am worried about that "bird flu". since it is new our body's will have no imunity to it. Is it all hype or what?
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#6 of 26 Old 10-09-2005, 06:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllasMama
My personal opinion is no way, no how. The flu shots contain mercury (plus a lot of other nasty stuff, I'm sure), and they don't cover every strain of flu anyway. I'd much rather take my chances with an illness my body is probably familiar with than have the certainty that I've injected toxins into my body. I get enough of those elsewhere!

Carol

:

I never get one. I think they are scary. I got one once in '93 because I worked for the county and the Health Department was giving them free to employees. I missed work for two weeks and was still ill when I went back. I was sensitive to the ingredients in the shot which made it worse. I haven't had one since. I don't get them for my son and dh doesn't get them either. My dad gets them, but his immune system is very compromised as a result of his Leukemia and other ailments. I still don't agree with the shot, but he is afraid of landing in the hospital.

I suggest rest, fluids, washing hands frequently, and staying away from anyone who is ill. I do this all year long and rarely take a sick day for myself. I had one last year and the other three were for ds.
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#7 of 26 Old 10-09-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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We don't do flu shots in our family.
If I get really sick, then I will just deal with it.
I think society is confused as to what the flu really is, these days, anyway.

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#8 of 26 Old 10-09-2005, 06:14 PM
 
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I won't be getting one. I never get one and neither do my girls. The vaccine does not guarantee immunity and the one time i got one i got very sick. I'll take my chances and if i get the flu i'll try oscillococcinum.
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#9 of 26 Old 10-09-2005, 10:38 PM
 
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no vaccines of any type are allowed to enter my family's bodies. YUK!
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#10 of 26 Old 10-10-2005, 03:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bellalunalovebunny
I'll take my chances and if i get the flu i'll try oscillococcinum.
Oscillococcinum is honestly great stuff! It is good to just have on hand during flu season so you can take at first sign of symptoms and not have to run out to the store when you already feel sick.
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#11 of 26 Old 10-10-2005, 04:03 AM
 
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Just hopping over from the nov 05 thread!!!

Ewwwwwwww... no. the vaccine for the flu has a 1 in 2 million chance of even having the right version of flu to begin with. Having a little neuroimmunology training in my background, I just wanted to add this little tidbit... the thing with the influenza virus is that it mutates by changing the order of its proteins every so often and scientists have no way of knowing how the virus is going to mutate every season. So they take their best guess (they'd have a better chance playing the lottery) and choose which mutation/form of influenza goes into the vaccination each season. Plus the downside of the mercury and the formaldehyde, not to mention the foreign animal proteins being introduced into your bloodstream and shocking your system... you are already slightly immunosuppressed because you are pregnant, no reason to make your body work harder.

My midwife emailed me some info about it earlier, if you'd like more info you can PM and I'll forward the email to you.
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#12 of 26 Old 10-10-2005, 06:00 PM
 
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I have a little bit more faith in the flu vaccine than some of the previous posters, but I'm still not getting one this year. I've never had a flu shot and I've never gotten the flu in my life, so it seems silly to do it this year. I haven't gotten sick yet this pregnancy (and I work in a public school where I'm constantly exposed to disease) so I don't think I'm particularly immuno-compromised. However, if I was typically a person who gets the flu shot, or if I was getting sick a lot, I'd consider getting a thimerasol-free version of the vaccine.
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#13 of 26 Old 10-11-2005, 01:05 AM
 
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The only time I've gotten the flu is when I got a flu shot several years ago. I've refused to get one since then, and I'm definitely not getting one now while pregnant. It doesn't protect from all strains, so it's not even the "guarantee" of not getting the flu that a lot of people seem to think it is. I'm not a fan of vaxes anyway, and this one seems particularly pointless to me.

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#14 of 26 Old 10-14-2005, 12:48 PM
 
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I'm eating my words.

I just got a flu shot yesterday at my OB appointment (thimerasol-free and an inactive virus so there's no chance of me getting the disease). I planned to decline but they were very persuasive.

Edited to say: the main reason I caved is because they said that getting a flu shot was a good way to decrease the chances that my daughter will contract the flu from me after she is born. That seemed pretty compelling.
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#15 of 26 Old 10-20-2005, 11:12 AM
 
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Interesting musemor, they do actually have evidence to suggest that the immunity would carry over into the baby? Good to know.

That said, I just got a flu shot. It did contain thimerosol.
I talked to Dh , talked to my mw, checked with motherrisk. They all agree that there is more danger to the fetus if I get incredibly ill with influenza (which I actually DID when I was heavily pg with ds.... was sick for about six weeks and recovered about two weeks before he was born.)
With two children actively in school and preschool, the chances of me being exposed are likely pretty high (most of their classmates have parents who are either teachers or health care workers.... everytime there is a big outbreaks of any virus in this area, our family is among the first to get it, usually from kids at their schools.)

Dh was very very concerned when I was pg and so sick last time. There was so nothing I could do or take and we (and the mws) were so concerned that I was going to end up hospitalized due to dehydration or exhaustion and end up in labour.... I got better, and delivered him slightly past his due date... but still, I'd rather not do that again. It made the end of my pg quite stressful for us all. (physically and emotionally I didn't really have a lot of reserves going into the newborn period....when met with a new born that didn't sleep through the night until he was 16 months old.... it wasnt a pretty time)

So I got the shot.
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#16 of 26 Old 10-20-2005, 03:19 PM
 
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Here is an article on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. I had noticed this article in the NY Times in mid-summer. I thought it was interesting to see that despite the near panic induced by the shortage of vaccine doses over the winter, this article was buried in the middle of the paper.

Accordingly, I'm not planning on having a shot, despite all the scary news about the bird flu.

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#17 of 26 Old 10-20-2005, 04:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AndiG
Interesting musemor, they do actually have evidence to suggest that the immunity would carry over into the baby? Good to know.
No, they didn't say that immunity would transfer in-utero. But they recommend that all caregivers of infants under six months have the vaccine so that they don't bring the flu home to the baby. My husband and I are rarely sick (I think it's been two years since I even had a cold) but this year it just feels extra important, so we're going with our gut feeling and getting vaccinated. My SIL and BIL had bad colds when their baby was born and I think it made things extra difficult in those first weeks. Of course, there's no guarantee that we won't be sick with something else in February, but at least we're a tiny bit more protected than we would have been otherwise.
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#18 of 26 Old 10-23-2005, 02:10 PM
 
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1-pretty sure there's no such thing as a truly thimerosol-free version of the flu vaccine. The "thimerosol-free" one just has so little that they can round it down to 0g, so they can label it that way (kinda like trans-fat free stuff that still has hydrogenated oils)
2-wasn't there some study done within the last couple years that showed a link between autism and women who get the flu vaccine while pregnant?
3-I really encourage anyone who's interested in this sort of thing to do more research on the subject. I, and so many others 'round here, have done a full 180 on the issue. I have a biology degree and really thought I knew my stuff when it came to immunity/health etc., and so when I started researching vaxes it was from a perspective of wanting to prove to non-vaxers that they were perfectly safe. Boy, was I surprised by the amount of info I found on the other side of the fence that was scientifically valid. My feeling now is that working against nature is going to be waaaaaay more harmful in the long run, for the whole of humanity, in addition to the risks simply outweighing any benefits in the individual case.

Research each disease individually and each shot individually. Only then can you come to a valid conclusion.
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#19 of 26 Old 10-24-2005, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HerthElde
1-pretty sure there's no such thing as a truly thimerosol-free version of the flu vaccine. The "thimerosol-free" one just has so little that they can round it down to 0g, so they can label it that way (kinda like trans-fat free stuff that still has hydrogenated oils)
That's not true. The CDC reports that "for the 2004-05 influenza season, it is likely that 6-8 million doses of inactivated influenza vaccine without thimerosal as a preservative will be available." There are also vaccinations with "trace" thimerasol, meaning that thimerasol was used during production and then purified out of the formula leaving <1.25 mcg Mercury per dose.

Quote:
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2-wasn't there some study done within the last couple years that showed a link between autism and women who get the flu vaccine while pregnant?
Not that I am aware. From the CDC:
"A study of influenza vaccination examining over 2,000 pregnant women demonstrated no adverse fetal effects associated with influenza vaccine. Case reports and limited studies indicate that pregnancy can increase the risk for serious medical complications of influenza. One study found that out of every 10,000 women in their third trimester of pregnancy during an average flu season, 25 will be hospitalized for flu related complications."

However, there have been studies that draw parallels between reduction in thimerasol-containing vaccines and reductions in the rate of autism in children. This for vaccines given directly to children, not to those given to pregnant mothers. Thimerasol has never been proven to cause autism directly (the 2003 GG study is a scientific joke), but when they took it out of most childhood vaccinations there was a reduction in ASD cases. That's enough for me to be vigilant about my child only receiving thimerasol-free vaccines (basically a non-issue for childhood vaccinations now that virtually all of them are thimerasol-free). The flu shot is pretty much the only one that you have to be certain your kid is getting the thimerasol-free version.

FWIW, there was a 2004 study that directly linked maternal exposure to influenza with increased rates of schizophrenia in offspring. More info here if you're interested. "The study has shown for the first time that serologically documented prenatal exposure to influenza is associated with schizophrenia. The risk of schizophrenia was increased threefold when influenza occurred during the first half of pregnancy; however when influenza occurred during the second half of pregnancy, no increased risk was observed."

So like anything, the flu vaccine has potential risks and potential benefits (likewise refusing the flu vaccine). Everybody has to make a decision that is right for their family and then live with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HerthElde
Research each disease individually and each shot individually. Only then can you come to a valid conclusion.
It's great to be part of a community of self-educators who respect each other's decisions.
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#20 of 26 Old 10-24-2005, 02:37 PM
 
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No, they didn't say that immunity would transfer in-utero. But they recommend that all caregivers of infants under six months have the vaccine so that they don't bring the flu home to the baby. .
Yes, sorry I did understand that from your original post but my response wasn't clear.


Unlike many people here I choose to vaccinate my children. I don't do so blindly but I've decided to do it because I do feel its best for them.

And as I've already had influenza when pg with a small child at home and I'm about to have another late winter baby with two small children in the home, I really do feel that I made the right choice. For those of you who choose not to, well I respect your choice but some comments have made me feel like I didn't think this through. Believe me, when your exclusively bf'd non sleeping three month old has had four colds which he may have caught from you which you caught from your toddler, you may consider other means to improve everyone's immunity.

sorry, I sound a little huffy, I'm having a hormonal week, please don't take aoffense.
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#21 of 26 Old 10-24-2005, 05:08 PM
 
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I hope you don't feel bad because of the thread, AndiG. I think most people (you and me included) are trying to explain how they came to their personal decision. It's hard not to feel defensive when people are drawing different conclusions from the same information, especially when the conclusion they draw is that they would be hurting their family if they did or didn't vaccinate. It sort of implies judgement (i.e. vaccinating hurts my family and if you do it, you are hurting yours). But I don't think it is always meant that way. I hear you on the hormone factor.

And FWIW, I think there are a lot of people on MDC who are vaccinating their kids (whether on a delayed or "standard" schedule). I am, not because I necessarily think it will protect my daughter against a particular disease, but because I think it's my responsibility as a global citizen. Obviously I educate myself so that I can ensure her health as well as the health of the world population. i.e. Just because there would be fewer HepB cases if everyone were vaccinated as an infant doesn't mean that my daughter needs a HepB vax as a baby. It's a tough line to walk, though, but I guess most parenting decisions are that way. I don't have any less respect for someone who chooses not to vax, or who vaxes on a different schedule than we will. If anything I have more respect for people who have done the research and are making an informed decision (whether to vax or not).

Apologies for posting tangentially on the flu thread. Vaccination is such a knee-jerk issue that I think it's important to separate adult/pregnancy vax and childhood vax.
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#22 of 26 Old 10-24-2005, 05:16 PM
 
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don't worry, the thread wasn't upsetting me. It was just something I was emotionally talking about WHILE being hormonal about everything else on the planet.
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#23 of 26 Old 10-24-2005, 10:09 PM
 
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AndiG and musemor, I certainly didn't mean to imply that you haven't done your research on the issue. However, many people new to MDC come in on the pregnancy boards, and many don't even realize that there is another POV. When I came to MDC a couple years ago, I thought non-vaxxers were a little whacko I thought I had "done my research", as I had looked at the quackwatch type stuff, the government sites, had a science degree, etc. It wasn't until I ventured a bit further, and I wouldn't have done so without the urging of these boards, that I realized how much more info there was out there.
I also truly believe that you can show two people the same information and it's possible for them to come to vastly different conclusions. This is why I feel it is possible to be fully informed and still choose to vax. Different people simply bring different perspectives. However, I also see a lot of people on both sides of the issue who think they are fully informed who really aren't, kwim?
The study that I mentioned, musemor, may have even been just a review of the literature, but it showed a correlation. However, I looked at it in passing, and can honestly say that by the time I saw it, it was a moot point for me, so I don't recall where I saw it . I pretty much just threw it out there as something that ppl could look further into if interested.
Does the CDC site say who makes the thimerosol-free vaccine, and have a link to the ingredients within? Just curious if you noticed it in passing, I don't expect you to dig around for it.
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#24 of 26 Old 10-24-2005, 11:44 PM
 
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It's very true that the same information can be interpreted differently depending on your "filter." For me, I started out wary of vaccines but uncommitted. I found that my daughter has food allergies including to eggs, which are often used to make vaccinations. So on top of the pros and cons, I have the filter of seeing the issue from the point of view of someone whose child is potentially more likely to react to vaccinations. I also have never-to-be-answered questions about the influence of vaccines on my own health, so all of that figures in. I think the subject of vaccinations is a hard one because (this is my opinion) there is no one obvious, perfect, solid answer, for either ourselves or our children. Like so many other things in motherhood, the lack of total certainty means you enter a potential "damned if you do, damned if you don't" zone.

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#25 of 26 Old 10-25-2005, 11:14 AM
 
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After researching the topic to death, I did get vaccinated with the inactivated vaccine yesterday. With DD #4, I did get the flu, and wound up in the hospital for over a day with a 103 fever. I have 3 school-age children, and plenty of school-age nephews who come over often and share their germs with us.

After speaking to several medical professionals, the conclusion is that the amount of mercury present in a vaccine is equal to a small serving of tuna fish. I don't eat seafood anyway (I'm allergic), so I don't believe one small serving of tuna fish will cause harm. I had to weigh the benefits; I don't want to be hospitalized again...
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#26 of 26 Old 10-25-2005, 04:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HerthElde
Does the CDC site say who makes the thimerosol-free vaccine, and have a link to the ingredients within? Just curious if you noticed it in passing, I don't expect you to dig around for it.
The CDC flu site didn't have specific manufacturers listed, but it didn't take much digging to find out the approved manufacturers and their thimerosal levels.

The following info is current as of September 6, 2005.

There are six FDA-licensed influenza vaccines.

Listed in order: Trade Name, Manufacturer, Thimerosal Concentration, Mercury

Fluzone, Aventis Pasteur Inc., 0.01%, 25 µg/0.5 ml dose
Fluvirin, Evans, 0.01%, 25 µg/0.5 ml dose
Fluzone (no thimerosal), Aventis Pasteur Inc., 0, 0
Fluvirin (preservative free), Evans, < 0.0004%, < 1 µg/0.5 ml dose
Fluarix, GlaxoSmith-Kline, < 0.0005%, < 1.25 µg/0.5 ml dose

You can read the package insert for the various types of Fluzone here.
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