There’s no question that the one topic that has been on everyone’s mind these days is H1N1. The Mommy Blogosphere has run rampant over the last few months with the philosophical dilemma, “To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate your child?” If you had asked me a few months ago, my response would have been, “Uh…”
I’m one of those bad mommies who never bothered with the seasonal flu shots for my kids. I’ve got a boat load of excuses, and if you really want to hear them they range from “I meant to but he was too sick the day of the appointment”, to “I had a pregnant moment and forgot”, to “Oh, should I have done that already?” The truth is I’m one of those people that heard a ton of stories of others getting the flu shot, and then guess what…they got the flu. As ignorant as that statement may be, I believe my lack of action was due to that fear.
With the onslaught of attention to H1N1, I started to listen to what others had to say on the topic. From the bulk of what I have read and the conversations I have held with other moms, people tend to fall into one of four categories. I’m only slightly paraphrasing here, and have read/heard them all:
- Of course I’m going to vaccinate my kids. Why WOULDN’T you vaccinate? Don’t you understand the risk you are taking by leaving your children so exposed?
- No way. Have you seen how quickly they put this together? It’s not properly tested. There are way too many harmful chemicals in it, and they based it on the swine flu from the seventies. It’s not even the same flu strain.
- I’m not sure what to do. I think I will, it seems like the right thing to do, but it’s so new that I’m nervous.
- I’m not sure what to do. I’m leaning towards no. The vaccine is so new and the risk seems too high.
I sure not everyone falls into these categories, and every family situation is different. But for many it doesn’t even matter. For many, the vaccine simply isn’t available.
As I began to hear more and more stories of people waiting in line for hours for the shots only to be turned away when the clinics ran out, of calling their doctors daily to see if they are available, and of sitting on waiting lists for the calls that never come, my fears changed from “would I get my children the shot” to “COULD I get my children the shot.”
Then one day I got lucky. On a random Monday morning my doctor’s office called to tell me they had received the vaccine and were administering it to their patients under the age of six. Both of my children would have the opportunity to be vaccinated, but we would need to get there that afternoon, else they would be gone. In that instant, all the worry I experienced, and the back and forth sway over whether or not I should vaccinate them disappeared. I bolted out the door. My decision was made, and my children received the H1N1 vaccination. They go back in a month to receive the second dose, and I am praying that it will actually be available.
I know many moms that are still waiting for their child’s first dose.
Now, here’s the kicker. I brought my two year old son to his well child check last week and requested the seasonal flu shot for him. I had brought my daughter in for her appointment the month prior and she received hers then. This time, however, they had run out. There are no seasonal flu vaccinations available. My son is now on a waiting list, with no indication whatsoever of when it will be in stock.
The whole issue is mind boggling to me. I know I’m probably part of the problem; that with so much media attention, I’m one of those mom’s who is suddenly so concerned and wants vaccinations for my kids, even though I have never bothered before. Now they simply cannot keep up with the supply and demand. Still, I feel like this is something that should have been foreseen. So my question to you is not whether or not you are choosing to vaccinate for H1N1 or the seasonal flu, but whether you even have the option?