Sunday, November 8, 2009

NO Shot For YOU! The H1N1 Series - Part I

We've been sick here.

All of us. To varying degrees.

I wasn't going to post on H1N1.

Simply because I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole vaccine, panic, people and policy thing(s).

I didn't really want to jump on any one bandwagon, and instigate a bunch of debates I really don't want to publicly instigate.

But ya know what?

Now that we've been through the week from flu hell, and are all on the mend, I've decided there are a few things I DO want to share.

Before I jump into 'our story', let me get a few things out there.

The Vaccine

I'm still not sure, 100% positive in my heart, that it won't leave long term effects in some, or many.

There is SO much information out there. And no, I'm not talking obviously bogus or the 'listen to me, I'm a nutjob' YouTube videos.

Real conflicting information.

And after reading so much, because ... you know, you have to be knowledgeable about the things you're going to put into your body, I'm still not convinced they know enough about it, and how much of a benefit it's really providing.

How many people do you know who have gotten 'the shot' and still ended up sick?

What long term effects will it have?

We're always so quick to jump on the latest 'miracle wonder' that will help us in whatever way.

You know what I keep thinking about?

When pregnant women were given the SAFE drug, Thalidomide (a harmless sedative for expectant mothers) in the 50's & 60's.

Oh sure, it was safe.

And HOW MANY children were born with birth defects because of it?

OK, so I'm comparing apples to oranges.

But bottom line is, we're all lining up to put something into our bodies, that hasn't been through a proper human trial.

Oh ... wait ... that's what THIS is ... isn't' it?

The High Risk List

Regardless, the decision whether or not to have the boys and I vaccinated was taken away from me, because we did not fit the requirement for the High Risk Category.

Meaning, NO Shot For YOU!

"Public health officials say there are only enough vaccines for people in four groups: pregnant women, First Nation communities, health-care workers and children between ages six months and 59 months."

Taken from the following article: Halifax-area H1N1 clinics open to high-risk groups

So, although there were those who instantly made to the decision to vaccinate, and stood in lineups lasting up to SEVEN hours!, since we couldn't get it anyway, I decided to stop worrying about THAT one, until the time came to open it up to the rest of us.

Given the vaccine shortage, I completely understand why this has to be done on a priority basis, and I agree with putting children, pregnant women and health care workers in high priority.

I do however, think that list should have been opened up to children 6-18 with pre-existing respiratory health conditions.

And I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say some are questioning whether or not it was 'fair' to have the First Nation people receiving their vaccines first.

Here's the issue.

Yes, First Nations on reserves were hit hard during the first wave of H1N1 last spring.

And the shortage of medical supplies must be an ongoing issue, not just H1N1 related.

That I can understand too.

But one person I spoke with about it made, what I thought, a good point; "If the general population outside of first nation reservations are expected to be responsible citizens, and take all precautions NOT to sick while waiting for the vaccine, why shouldn't they be expected to act responsibly also?"

And what about members off reserves?

If they're not living in 'high risk' areas, would they have been eligible for the first round of vaccine also?

I've never considered myself racist.

It wouldn't matter which 'group' we're talking about. I simply think that if a group of individuals can't take responsibility for their community, keeping in mind they choose to continue to live where they live, why should the rest of the general population suffer for it?

And by general population in this circumstance, I'm talking the kids only.

Kids over the 'high risk cutoff age' that have health issues, and could have really used that shot.

But that's enough about that.

Prisoners are priority?

OK, so here's the thing that REALLY pissed me off about the whole high risk priority list ... something that public health officials didn't mention ...

What about the ... the ... INMATES who are getting the vaccine before the rest of the community's children?

That's one I just don't understand!

The argument is that the inmates are in confined spaces and therefore susceptible to getting sick.

N.S. swine flu vaccine for high-risk groups only

But it wasn't only in Nova Scotia!

B.C. inmates to receive flu vaccine before prison staff

PEI - Inmates get H1N1 vaccine, children told to wait

(Thanks Michelle for the links!)

Um ... has anyone walked into a Primary classroom lately? Or sat on a school bus? Or been in a busy cafeteria line?

That goes for you grown ups too.

Do some of you not take the bus? Sit inches away from others in cubes?

Let's take a good look at this.

These inmates are ... ahem ... adults.

If they value their lives, they're going to wash their hands and take the other advised precautions to avoid getting sick.


They just don't get the seriousness of germs and illness.

While in THEIR confined spaces, they're all sharing stuff, and touchy feely, and leaving their slimy boogers where you least expect.

When not getting a big kick out of wiping them on others.

Just cause.

Like I said. Just don't get it.

So, while the boys and I were waiting to be eligible for the vaccine, we got the flu.

Of course.

It all started when ...

Actually, we'll save all that for next time.

Be sure to come back for H1N1 Ain't Been Fun! The H1N1 Series Part II

Stay well everyone!

And make informed decisions.

'nuff said.

For more information on the H1N1 vaccine, see the Public Health Agency of Canada website



Sue said...

I have the same thoughts that you had about whether or not there would be long term effects and I also thought of that pregnancy drug!!!

Maybe the reason inmates get it first is because they are the human trial?

That said, I have one question. Is this virus like Chicken pox? Once you get it you're immune for life? I remember it took over a decade for chicken pox vaccine (Varivax) to get approved.

We're right to question the safety of this. We're right to be cautious.

Bonnie S. said...

Here is New Brunswick, the priority group was the same, except the kids cut off age was 18 years old. I was really surprised that it was 5 years old in NS!! Crazy. Nicholas had a half dosage last weekend (he's 18 months old) and by Wednesday was sick with the flu... vomitting and diarrhea. Coincidence? Probably. Freaked out mom? Definitely. Now they are saying that the kids may not need the second half dosage. I hope so, but at the same time, will this half dosage be enough to protect him? I guess obviously no one really knows the answer to that. Crazy crazy.

Bonnie S. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kim's Korner said...

Sue - Someone else I spoke with had the same comment about the inmates being used as the 'trial'. Regardles if it's true or not, it's an 'interesting' concept to say the least.

And I'm really not sure if the vaccine provides lifetime immunization. If it was anything I read, it wasn't retained lol.

Bonnie - See, the age cutoff here should have been the same as in NB!

As for getting sick after the vaccine, I'm not so sure it was coincidence. I heard of quite a few people who had some type of reaction to it.

As long as they're only mild, and short term reactions, I think the majority of people can live with that.