One of my easiest decisions as a parent so far was the choice to vaccinate my baby. I feel 100 percent confident that protecting him from potentially deadly diseases is my responsibility as a mother and vaccines are a safe, effective way to do that. I’ve done my research (although the internet is a hard hard place to do vaccine research, especially if you’re actually in favor of vaccinating) and I’ve talked to my doctor and I choose my choice. It’s chosen. My blogger friend Brigid posted a video from the CDC a while back addressing some of the concerns and facts about vaccinations in a non-terrifying way. My feelings can basically be boiled down to even though I doubt my baby will ever be exposed to measles or rubella or hepatitis, it’s the herd immunity that prevents epidemics and I’m doing my part. And for the record, I don’t really want to hear about your cousin’s sister-in-law’s best friend’s baby who totally got autism right after his shots. For every anecdote you’ve heard there’s a child who never had a single shot and was still diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. So, like I said, I am on the vaccination train.
Until this H1N1 thing came along. Suddenly I’m not so confident. I don’t know if I want to add another shot to my baby’s 6 month appointment. For myself, no problem. I will probably get both a regular seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 shot. E’s going to get both flu shots as well (the Navy actually requires him to get them). I haven’t had the flu since I was a kid (I get strep every year instead, so if they start vaccinating against THAT sign me up!) and I don’t spend a lot of time in crowded disease-filled places like malls or day care centers, but again, herd immunity! As parents, we’re doing our part. But my baby doesn’t hang out in those places either. And the info out there on the Swine Flu vaccine is too scary to just dismiss. Younger children need to get two shots instead of one, and Baby Evan is just barely old enough to fall in the 6 months – 24 year suggested age group. Some states are lifting the restrictions on how much mercury can be in the vaccines (I can’t find info for my state but I know California and Washington have). The last time a Swine Flu vaccine was distributed in the 70’s the side effects were terrible and much more widespread than I am comfortable with. I just don’t know what the right choice is this time.
I’m not the only mom who feels this way. One of the mommy bloggers I follow, All & Sundry, just posted something about choosing to get the vaccine (or not). She got almost two hundred comments and every single one made me think “Oh good point!” on both sides. I hope I don’t have to make a decision right away since the vaccine may not be available in time for our 6 month appointment and I’ll get a couple more weeks to think about it. Are you – and/or your children – getting the H1N1 vaccine?