I do not normally vax.
My youngest (age 9) is prone to chest infections. She has probably averaged one a year over the course of her life - and they are (thankfully) becoming more spaced out as she ages. There is a long complicated medical reason for this, but suffice to say we do not smoke, nor does she have asthma.
Her last bout of a chest infection was a dousy - it landed her in the children's hospital for 5 days. The pneumonia developed from the flu.
I would really like to give her lungs a chance to heal further, and break the pattern of chest infections.
I am thinking of giving her a flu shot next year.
Here are a few questions, should anyone have any stats handy. As you can imagine (as a non vaxxer who is considering a vax) I am open to info from all sources:
How effective is the flu vax?
How common is the flu?
How safe is the flu vax?
Is the flu vax one shot or two - if two, how effective is one shot?
Is there any other specific info I need to know about the flu shot?
Numerous people (adults) at my husbands work used to get the flu shot - but stopped because they would always get sick after the shot. Any one else hear of this?
I have also considered the pneumonia vax - I disregarded it a few years ago because it only seemed to cover some pneumonias but not others (???) but I might need to rethink that as well.
Pneumonia vaccines do last a longer period than flu (by far) so maybe that is the way to go. Sigh. So many questions.
What do people think of the pneumonia vaccine?
This was especially notable, because in the decade before and after those shots, I had not had ANY respiratory illnesses, not even a cold.
discusses some of the risks of the current flu shots.
I think you might be able to avoid many of these risks by opting for the flu mist, rather than the shot. But you also risk your daughter's getting flu from the flu mist; in healthy people, it would be a milder case of the flu, but if your daughter has an underlying condition that may predispose her to pulmonary complications from flu, the flu mist might be contraindicated for her.
That is a difficult decision you face.
The reason I got the flu shot was because one of my children had had open-heart surgery, and we were told he had an increased risk of endocarditis. (We also gave him a flu shot, before we knew any better.). After my second reaction, my doctor advised me to have no more vaccines, and said that the perceived benefit of the flu shot was outweighed by the obvious harm it was causing--and this was even before they added H1N1 to the flu shot, and before adverse reactions to the flu shot were reported in the press.
With or without the vaccine, I think it would be a good idea to address nutritional support, as well as other environmental problems that might be contributing to pulmonary issues: scented fabric softeners, cleaning chemicals in the house, pets (not just dander, but was the pet treated for fleas? That treatment is pesticides, and can be inhaled by your daughter) carpeting (new or old--can be bad news), house pesticides (was your house treated for fleas, other insects, rodents?), lawn pesticides and weed killers, mold/mildew (a colleague of mine has had several repeat cases of pneumonia, and a culture revealed mold in her lungs--turned out, her houses has a major mold issue).
Also, does she exercise? If she has limited lung capacity, that increases her chance of pulmonary issues from viruses. Aerobic exercise increases lung capacity. Most kids these days seem to spend an awful lot of time sitting in front of computer or cell phone...
There are probably many other things that can contribute; that's all that came to my mind on first thought.
My favorite source for most-things-medical is the Cochrane Collaboration at www.cochrane.org. This research-driven think-tank meta-analyzes medical literature in order to determine the most evidence-based treatments. Most important, they screen studies carefully for any conflicts of interest, (or junk science resulting from them!), and they don't accept any outside funding that could create such conflicts.
At any rate, the folks at Cochrane have determined that in multiple population sets--both high and low-risk--sufficient scientific evidence is lacking to support the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Head to this site and enter "influenza vaccination" in the search bar for further information. (It makes mockery of those hospitals that require this vax for their employees!) While these reviews may not address your daughter's specific lung condition, IMHO, they leave plenty of room for skepticism.
As for pneumonia, are you referring to the pneumoccal vaccine, Prevnar? First keep in mind that pneumococcal is only one form of pneumonia, so if you choose this vaccine, I wouldn't get a false sense of security that your daughter will be completely pneumonia-free. That said, Cochrane has a mixed review of the shot, at least for bronchiectasis. In your shoes, however, I would definitely be more inclined to get this one than the influenza vax! Check out The Vaccine Book by Bob Sears. There's a chapter about the pneumococcal disease and vaccine, and you may be able to get a hold of a low-aluminum variety in Canada.
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
I just saw this and scared myself. Ugh. I would only give her one vaccine (the prevnar) and not multiple vaccines as the children in Japan received - but still.
I will look at the Cochrane review, and get the Sears book.
The pneumonia was in late Feb or early March, so I am still a little raw. I will not make any hasty decisions.
Kathy, that article was from a year ago, and it said that they were halting the vaccine "temporarily." Is there any update on whether they reinstated the vaccine, changed the formulation, or continued to keep it off the schedule in Japan?