After being lectured and pushed around at my most recent OB appointment, I decided to do a little deeper research regarding the H1N1 influenza and the vaccination said to prevent it.
When asked by the nurse if I've received my flu vaccinations I responded, "no, and I am declining all vaccinations at this time." The nurse smiled and said, "well, I'll let you talk to the doctor about that." When the doctor came in, she went on to inform me that pregnant women who contract H1N1 influenza have a 15-30% fatality rate! And that the government is estimating that 30-50% of the US population will contract this bug. I don't know where she got her information because from everything I've researched including medical journals and the Center of Disease Control the highest percentage rate of pregnant women who contract the disease and die is 4%. Here's my breakdown: The CDC has 700 reported cases of pregnant women who have came down with H1N1 influenza. Out of 700 REPORTED cases 100 were hospitalized. Out of 100 hospitalized 28 died. This concludes to 4%. However, for many, the symptoms of swine flu are no more than a common cold. In that case many would not go to the doctor and even if they did, it may not have been reported as H1N1. So in my opinion that number is a safe high. Also, it has not been revealed whether or not these pregnant women had underlying conditions.
I also want to note that the CDC has never before tracked the impact of the common flu in pregnant women. Although it is known that any flu is a higher risk for pregnant women, it's not known whether H1N1 is any worse than the common flu. So, why all the hubbub about H1N1 influenza (swine flu)? I'm not exactly sure why. Yes, there have been nearly 800 deaths this year linked to swine flu but what most people don't know is that the number of deaths linked to swine flu and pneumonia are not much different from deaths of the average seasonal flu we see every year (which is approximately 36,000 deaths)! Swine flu is simply one of the strains we're seeing this year. The vast majority of deaths that have been linked to swine flu have been reported to have underlying conditions such as asthma or an immune suppressing chronic illness.
In 1976 a hastily-prepared mass vaccination program was undertaken in a panic due to a virus which was also partially swine derived. The outcome was a virus which was not nearly as widespread or dangerous as was projected, it fizzled off quickly. Millions received a vaccination which was thought to be safe and turned out to have many cases of neurological defects including 500 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome which is a paralyzing disorder.
So, why am I not getting this vaccination? Let me list my reasons:
1. The vaccination has not yet been proven to work! The vaccination is said to be a very similar strain to the one that is currently traveling our country but if that strain changes (which it can) the vaccination may not be effective. Also, it simply doesn't work for nearly 15% of people.
2.I am aware that pregnant women are more prone to having complications with an illness, however, H1N1 does not appear to be any different than a seasonal flu. There are many strains of influenza that go around every year and there is never a guarantee that I will not contract one of those no matter how many vaccinations I obtain. I am healthy, active, aware of the symptoms and I will act promptly to control an illness that I may come down with. I am also taking vitamins and extra care in hygiene to prevent getting sick.
3. I am not in the work place nor are my children in a daycare or school system therefore we are less likely to contract the illness and will abstain from visiting sick people, using shopping carts without sanitizing, etc.
4. The manufacturers (CLS Limited, MedImmune, Novartis and Sanofi Pasteur) of the vaccination state that it has NOT been tested safe for pregnant women or babies under 6 months of age. And they are immune from any liability for complications linked to the vaccination. This vaccine was put on the "fast track" and wasn't actually tested as much as normal vaccinations.
6. There are ingredients in this vaccination that are known to be cancer causing and may lead to other complications including death. Who knows what they may have found 5, 10, 50 years down the road with my precious baby.
7. World Health Organization states that 30-50% of people who contract H1N1 show mild or no symptoms at all. The majority of people clear the virus on their own without even going to a doctor.
8. There are possible side effects such as fever which is one of the big concerns with pregnant women contracting the virus itself.
9. In perspective: There was a report that there have been 200,000 preventable deaths due to medical errors and hospital infections in the US compared to <900 deaths from swine flu.
I found this report educational on the swine flu virus.