Is the H1N1 Vaccine Safe for Your Family?

Are you planning to give your child a H1N1 vaccine this flu season? As cooler weather approaches and more children spend time indoors, the government is warning Americans to prepare for another epidemic outbreak of the H1N1 virus. Although homeschoolers are significantly reduced in their exposure, many of our children still participate in potential flu-spreading social gatherings, including church groups, music lessons, sports activities, and homeschool co-op outings. However, does this mean they need a vaccination to protect against this viral threat?

Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, four different Influenza A (H1N1) or swine flu vaccines will soon be available to families in the United States. Although virtually untested, 195 million doses of these vaccines have been ordered by the government for mass vaccinations to begin sometime in mid-October in up to 90,000 sites, including schools and clinics. GlaxoSmithKline, one of the H1N1 vaccine manufacturers, said the "clinical trials will be limited" due to government demands, and "additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available." Perhaps the real concern for parents then should be focused on the safety of the vaccine and not on the supply.

According to America's vaccine safety watchdog, the National Vaccine Information Center, the reason to rush new vaccines was started when a national public health emergency was declared on April 26 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At that time, drug companies were given billions of tax dollars to create experimental swine flu vaccines. Since then, these vaccines have been fast-tracked with only a small number of children and adults tested over the past few weeks before beginning the mass inoculation program.

Currently, President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, have strongly recommended the vaccine for the following groups:

• Pregnant women
• Persons between the ages of six months and 24 years old
• Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
• People living with or caring for children younger than six months of age
• People ages 25 to 64 at high risk due to chronic health disorders or weakened immune systems

So far H1N1 has not been very severe in America. As of July 24, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 43,771 laboratory confirmed cases with only 5,011 hospitalizations and 302 deaths. Of those hospitalized, 70% of cases had underlying medical conditions. For the most part, many people who contacted the disease experienced symptoms much less severe than the typical seasonal flu.

With all the hype and confusion surrounding the swine flu, it can be difficult for homeschooling parents to make the right decision for their child. Is subjecting your child to a relatively untested vaccine as a preventative measure the best answer for the H1N1 virus? Share your opinions with other homeschool parents in the comment field below.

Comments(24 comments)


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ASHLEY S 10/01/2009 04:17:03

I have been contemplating this very question myself. When I saw this article I thought it would help me answer my question but unfortunately it did not. I don't live in the US and have heard of many people here in Yokohama, Japan dying from this influenza strain. I guess I feel that if I am ultra aware of any fever or vomiting my daughter starts to exhibit and I take her immediately to the hospital, that maybe everything will be ok. I don't know though. What are everyone elses' thoughts?

TIFFANY G 10/01/2009 04:49:22

I just wanted to respond to this article from personal experience in hopes that others won't rush to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu. We have 4 children and did not vaccinate. Last week my husband came home sick. Fever, chills, headache. The next morning we were sent for a flu test. He tested positive for the flu. We were told that anyone testing positive for the flu at this time in the year has the H1N1 flu. This is the MILDEST flu that I have ever seen. My husband took the flu on a Tues. evening and by Thursday was up and around, going back to church that Sunday. Please don't vaccinate your children w/ a vaccine that is so new and untested for a flu that is in my opinion, not even a "flu". I also would like to point out that the tamaflu that they prescribe made my husband feel extremely sick to his stomach and made his headache more severe. He only took 2 doses of that. We discontinued it after I looked up the ingredients and discovered that on of the ingredients was........antifreeze! I hope this helps. Thanks

KRISTINE S 10/01/2009 04:57:46

I'm a childcare provider as well and as a familiy, we did have the "regular" flu shot. However, I was on the fence about the H1N1 shot...was planning on getting it based on the recomendations. Then some of people that I known in the medical field started highly advising AGAINST getting the H1N1 host because we really don't know what it can do to us short term, let alone long term. WHY would we put this in our children when we can't take it back if they start to pay for it physically or even mentally. There is no possible way to know what price or how high of a price we will pay for taking this shot. At least with H1N1 we have know what the risk is...or at least have an idea of what we're up against. Right now, the government is just asking us to do this on blind faith...sorry...but really? This isn't a decision to make out of fear and they are playing on our fears. Just my humble opinion.

KRISTINE S 10/01/2009 04:58:59

Sorry - typo in my comment above...I meant the H1N1 shot...not "host". Oops! :)

S F 10/01/2009 06:14:35

The technology used to create the H1N1 vaccine is the same used as the seasonal flu shot. Technically it should be just as safe as the flu shot. Keep in mind there are two versions of H1N1 vaccine, with and without thimerasol, a mercury containing preservative. Pregnant women and children should not get the shot containing thimerasol. Also, if you are allergic to egg or have had allergic reactions to other flu shots you should not get the shot. I personally have never gotten a flu shot. Two of my children are allergic to egg so they will not be getting the shot. If any of us had a serious illness such as diabetes or asthma I would consider the shot for those not allergic to egg. We will make sure that we are practicing good hygiene and getting enough sleep and exercise as well as maintaining a healthy diet. If we need to avoid some group times because of illness we will. God takes care of everything that we can not so there is no need to worry.

MELODIE B 10/01/2009 06:20:41

Just relying on God, by praying that He will protect us from all physical, spiritual, and mental harm. I am praying specifically, that He will protect us from the H1N1 virus. I have faith in this method, because I have seen it work many times before!

MARY B 10/01/2009 06:33:23

I have been doing research on this very subject. I have not been able to find any concrete information on what exactly this vaccine contains. For this reason my family and I will not be "experimented on". I did find some very interesting information on the benefits of vitamin D-3 in boosting immunity to colds and flu. We started taking the D-3 last week in addition to Vitamin C that we were already using. Other than that hand washing, healthy foods and adequate rest will be our methods of staying healthy.

BJ S 10/01/2009 07:11:44

anytime the "Government" highly recommends the citizens to take something the is in "epedemic" proportion, when in fact it was not, A rat is lose, and I do not feel the need to be a guinea pigs for the Practicing Medical Profession. They are not responsible for our health, as individuals, we are. There are lots of homeopathic medicinal ways that are not toxic to our bodies and systems that actually "WORK" and are not expensive to utilize with or without insurance. We rely way to much on quick fix cures, ie pills, shots, to either get well or get rid of our ailments. Chronic ailments that take meds, in some instances, give us a license to eat, or do what we should really not be doing. ie the little purple pill, a license to eat anything and as much as we like. The flu shot should be labelled at your own risk.

MELANIE M 10/01/2009 07:30:32

Our family is choosing not to get the vaccine not only because of the risks, but because we do not feel it is necessary. It is not much different than the other influenza strains, past and present. We actually believe that it is a another tactic the government is using to gain more control over our lives. I am almost 6 months pregnant with our 4th child and I would not dare consider taking the vaccine because I am certain it would have some effect on the baby. Our family has always used home remedies to ward off anything that tries to make us sick with much success. Anytime there is the 1st sign of illness, we take a garlic supplement. The kids get liquid garlic in their juice and the illness is gone within 24 hours, so we will continue doing what we have always done knowing that it works and it is safe. We thank God that he has kept us healthy and will continue to do the same!

LINDA B 10/01/2009 07:36:58

The state of NY wants to make it mandatory for all healthcare workers to receive the vaccine and they are protesting. Let me say that this strain of H1N1 is not very dangerous, the real concern is that it has stayed active during a time period when it should have gone dormant. The real issue here is not what it is now but how it will "change" and how dangerous it WILL become. The current vaccine will not protect us if the strain changes again. My family will not get the vaccine and actually I am hoping we all get exposed because our bodies may be able to help us in defense against a stronger strain next year. Keep your eyes on other countries through our winter and spring to keep abreast of the situation. As always be prepared to deal with an emergency situation if you have to stay indoors for a period of time.

APRIL L 10/01/2009 09:58:03

I have not vaccinated my boys. I have been surrounded by families with vaccine damaged children and found the risk to be too great. As with way to many things in our society I fear this might be financially motivated. Also, considering that Obama has placed at his side a czar that has a history of attempting & advocating population control - I would pray quiet hard before placing your child in the hand of the government....

JESSICA D 10/01/2009 10:17:24

Please remember that although pregnant women are advised to get all flu vaccines they have NEVER been tested in pregnant women and as such we have no idea what it does to the developing child. I've been pregnant through the flu season twice and neither time was it even mentioned that i get it. To me it's not worth the risk. We're an asthmatic household, and 2 of us have mitral valve issues, but we're still not getting either flu shot and our doctors actually agree that it is probably the best decision. I'm leaving it in God's hands.

CRYSTAL T 10/01/2009 12:43:28

How about we let our own, God-given, immune systems have a chance to fight off sickness?! And yes, we could all eat a lot healthier to make this method more effective. Personally, I am totally against vaccinations, but am especially concerned for others who are duped into partaking of such a new, untested vaccine. The population control tactic mentioned above sounds like a very real motivation for such a strong governmental push. Crystal

DAISY W 10/01/2009 15:15:50

You are extremely selfish if you don't get an H1N1 flu shot, and if you spread your own ignorance to create fear and panic, you are worse. We are part of a community and cannot ignore that fact. Its the mindset of fear of modern medicine that has kept many countries in Africa in such a horrible situation regarding HIV/AIDS. Just today they are announcing that pregnant women are in even more risk than was thought previously: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20091001/28-pregnant-women-dead-from-h1n1-swine-flu-in-us Go live in a cave if you continue to be afraid of modern science.

KELLY H 10/01/2009 18:36:26

We've never gotten the flu shots. Neither my husband nor myself, and none of our five children who currently range in age from 9 to 19 yrs. I doubt we'll start this year. Good hygiene, healthy foods, plenty of rest and fresh air... LOTS of prayer, of course. Actually, growing up I never had a flu shot either. I'm not even sure they had them back then. Isn't it amazing that I'm still alive?!

TERESA T 10/01/2009 18:56:08

Everyone, I live near Dallas and am begging you, please do not take the swine flu litghtly. Just last week there was a young girl that came down with it on Wed. or Thurs. and died within a few days. She was completely healthy before that. At the same time I don't think we should be getting the shot either. Who knows whether there wiill be any side effects from it. Our family is going to pray that we all come out fine.

REBECCA C 10/02/2009 06:23:03

May I comment for a moment on Daisy W's posting? I don't believe that we are talking about people with a "mindset of fear of modern medicine". The fact is that the H1N1 flu shot has not been thoroughly tested at this time. I don't believe that families are selfish by choosing not to subject themselves to a vaccination in which (from what I've read from news sources online) the authorities aren't even positive yet how many vaccinations it will take to protect you from the H1N1 flu strain. They don't know, for certain, if it will take one vaccination or two. They don't know, if it takes two, how far apart to give the shots. There are too many uncertainties about this new vaccination for anyone to label families as "spreading ignorance" because they choose to voice their opinion about this new vaccine. This is not a matter to take lightly and families need to talk about this with people they know. We need to share information because by gathering information we can make the best decision for our own family. Our family has followed through on all the typical childhood vaccinations for our 2 children, but we do not get yearly flu shots. We will certainly not be subjecting ourselves, or our children, to a vaccination that has not been completely tested. As many others, we will be eating healthy, taking vitamin supplements, getting plenty of rest, and encouraging lots of hand washing during this cold and flu season. What we will not be doing is living in fear and creating panic by discussing this topic with friends.

PATRICIA T 10/02/2009 11:46:33

This is for Daisy W --- We are a family of 7... all 5 kids and I have asthma, one has a severe heart condition and I'm a diabetic. My 4 oldest kids had all their immunizatons when we were told to have them but with the youngest we pushed back on the medical establishment and he didn't start immunizations till he was 18 mo's old. (He's the one with the heart condition.) With asthma they strongly push you to do the flu vaccines every year but the 4 oldest have never had the flu vaccine and only 1 has ever gotten sick enough to be hospitalized. The hospitalization happened 2 yrs ago as a complication after the seasonal flu and my son ended up in the hospital for a wk with an unspecified pneumoia... as it turns out there was a pneumonia subset he had no immunity to. My kids and I are all on maintence medications to keep our asthma and allergies under control and we see the drs on a regular basis. If this is the sign of being afraid of modern medicine then mark me down as such. We will not being getting the H1N1 flu shot and it has nothing to do with ignorance, fear, or panic. In fact it has everything to do with being informed and refusing to give in to fear and panic. The news media and the government are hyping the numbers on the H1N1. At a certain college reported on in the last few days they state that they are having 300+ new confirmed cases of H1N1 every day. There is a problem with this statement... you see, there is no test in existance right now to test patients with that will specifically tell you you have the H1N1 virus. This has been verified to me by my kids pediatrician and my sons cardiologist who say that there are actually 2 different influenza type A viruses going around right now and 1 is the H1N1 virus. Therefore, if anyone tests positive for the influenza type A they have a 50/50 chance of having the H1N1 virus not a 100% chance which is what is being used to push the need to vaccinate everyone. All of us have been sick and 2 of my kids tested positive for the type A flu and it was the mildest flu they've ever had. As to the report out today on how horrible the H1N1 virus is for pregnant women and how it is killing them.... you leave out the fact that they have no comparison to make on pregnant women and their mortality rate in comparison to the season flu. This is because no state is required to report deaths associated with the seasonal flu unless they are pediatric deaths. "You are extremely selfish if you don't get the H1N1 flu shot.......Go live in a cave if you continue to be afraid of modern science." These are very intolerant views for someone posting on a homeschooling website. I'm surprised to hear it. If we are willing to give each other the choice to educate our children in the way that we see fit then I do not understand the intolerant view when it comes to our children's health. This H1N1 vaccination has not been properly tested and so they will not have a full view of the side effects of it until those vaccinated begin to report adverse effects. This government has even gone to the point of giving the makers of the vaccines a free pass so that they cannot be sued by anyone injured by the vaccines. Medical personnel that have been told that they will lose their jobs if they refuse this vaccination have refused this vaccination and are protesting. Gee, I wonder why we don't like the idea of this vaccination?????

DONNA K 10/02/2009 13:14:01

I agree with Patircia T. I am a mother of 7 (between the ages of 2 - 23) and my older daughter is pregnant. We ARE NOT going to take the H1N1 shot!! We will leave it in Gods hands and pray that he will protect us throughout this season. God healed my 5 year old when she was only 2 weeks old (when the flu was still around). So we will look to him each and every day for protection. After all who else would you want to protect you and your family? BTW.. I do not think that we need to live in a cave because we do not agree with the government on this one. After all, where has the government led us to this point. READ YOUR BIBLE the end is getting closer each day.

DEANNA W 10/04/2009 10:37:02

We, as citizens of this country, need to be very informed and to think for ourselves rather than rely upon talking heads and hype presented by the media. If scientists and health care workers are refusing this vaccination, that should make us stop and think. Also, for over 70 years now, the regular flu season has affected and killed more people each year than we saw due to the swine flu last spring, yet not once did the government tell school districts that they had to shut down for two weeks at a time, or demand that all citizens get shots. It is sad that anyone is dying, yet a couple thousand people out of 6 billion people worldwide does not constitute a pandemic. Not even an epidemic. This is the work of the government and the media working together (along with the World Health Organization and UN) to cause panic among the citizens of the planet. It is their hope and plan that with enough panic, the world will turn to the government (UN) for "salvation." It is my opinion that most of us homeschoolers do think for ourselves and use the God given brain we have. However, we live among many who do not. A populace that looks to the media or government for what to think and do is more dangerous than any flu.

DONNA M 10/06/2009 09:22:56

My boys 11 & 10 had wellness checks last week. My pediatrician advised not to get the H1N1 vaccine and told me the cases he has seen was very mild. He did suggest a regular flu shot when it becomes available.

ANGELA T 10/12/2009 13:54:58

Like any parent, I too am concerned about my child, and family's health. The swine flu should not be taken lightly. As for me and my house. We are choosing not to take the shot at this time. I am currently studying in biomedical science, and until this shot has been tested for several years I will not and nor will I let my child receive it. We are all healthy, eat well, get rest, and take daily vitamins and yogurt, wash hands regularly etc. Also a little exposure to this flu will also help our bodies ward off any new strain. If anyone in my house is sick we stay in doors, and do not go around people or back to work or activities for 5 days. So for anyone who thinks us not taking the shot is putting you at risk I assure you we are also considering your health in our choice as well.

10/18/2009 05:36:44

I have 5 children ranging in ages from 12-4. 2 of them have a reactive airway. None of are getting the swine flu shot. My pediatrician recommended that my 12 yr old get a chicken pox booster, so I did. He had already had the other doses. This time it caused an allergic reaction and he broke out in hives. It was not as severe as it could have been , thankfully. But I realized that you never know what can happen when you get an immunization. And also, the vaccine is not tested very well. What happens if we find out later that it causes severe side effects and a lot of people have already given to their kids? How many drugs have aready been recalled because of dangerous side effects?

DAWN H 11/01/2009 02:23:21

Our child had a nasal swab done at our doctor's office after coming down with what I considered classic flu symptoms. The test came back positive, although they aren't testing to see what type of flu it is at this time, yet 3 days later she was perfectly fine! We had 2 other children with symptoms as well, but didn't take them in for testing, and they were fine in about the same amount of time. I've had the flu and it never lasted just 3 days, so it leaves me wondering...are these tests wrong? Is this flu not nearly as bad as they thought unless you have an underlying disorder? I just have no idea. Either way as it passed, it just confirmed for us that not getting the flu vaccine was the right choice for our family. I don't see the benefit of using a brand new vaccine that hasn't had nearly enough testing for our otherwise healthy children to keep from being sick for a couple of days.

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