October 20, 2009
Hog's Back Swine Flu

This afternoon, Yukiko and I bundled all three car seats into the back of our Ford Focus and went to Hog's Back Falls to play in the leaves.  We had a fabulous, but not really blog-worthy time.


So I thought I'd talk about swine flu vaccinations instead (tee hee). 


I've been following the hand-wringing about the flu vaccines with interest since the H1N1 vaccine was just approved here in Canada and a decision will soon be needed on whether to get the seasonal flu shots.  In fact, Elizabeth and I both qualify for H1N1 shots as of Monday.


I'm a long time advocate of flu shots, despite a huge dislike of needles.  In my opinion, the evidence on the effectiveness of the flu shots is quite compelling.  There's also pretty fantastic summary of flu vaccine efficacy if you are looking for a quick science-based overview of the research without the side of hysteria that seems to go along with the topic.


I find it terribly ridiculous that so many people believe it is okay to skip the shot based on information they haven't confirmed given to them by word of mouth, and yet don't think twice about going out in public when sick.  Public service announcement:  If you are sick, stay home!  Or at least away from me!

Of course, it doesn't help that Health Canada has done a terrible PR job this year, nor that a lot of the "information" out there is just short of bizarre.  Some folks believe that the flu shot campaign is actually a deep seated government plot to tag and track the population or even kill us all off (as conspiracy theories go, this one gets double points because we're being injected with mysterious DNA markers as part of the elimination campaign).


One acquaintance of mine told me they weren't going to get the shot "because it's just the same as last year's".  Even assuming that was true, it turned out that they hadn't personally received the shot last year, because "lots of health professionals don't get the shot themselves".  Never mind that many health professionals don't practice what they preach in other areas such as smoking. 


Deciding whether to get the H1N1 flu shot or not was fairly straightforward for me and Brendan.  We found this article on H1N1 facts from the Globe and Mail particularly helpful.


Deciding whether to get the H1N1 flu shot for Elizabeth was a little bit more complicated.  The full strength adjuvant shot wasn't recommended for children. Would the non-adjuvant version of the vaccine be available for kids?  Then I found out that the adjuvant contains thimersol, but only 1/5 the amount in your standard tuna sandwich.  The non-adjuvant version that's coming has ten times the amount.  Hmm.

On November 10, 2009 at 09:09 pm
Vera Kan said:
I just *love* the photos of big-girl Erika smiling with younger sister and cousin. Keep 'em coming, Mary!

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