President Obama instilled a greater sense of fear among citizens after declaring the H1N1 influenza virus a national emergency. I, for one, always resisted the growing fear of an upsurge of a possible pandemic during my lifetime. It’s still hard for me, however, to classify the virus as consistent to the plague of the middle ages, like many are beginning to compare it to.
Currently my mother, a pediatric nurse, is suffering from congestion, fits of coughing and inability to feel alert because of the dreaded influenza. She insists that I get the vaccine but I, on the other hand, am worried about the side-effects that are associated with the vaccination.
So, should I get the vaccine?
Taken From CDC
PCR diagnostic test to detect novel H1N1 virus
Unless I leave school, it seems impossible. The scheduled vaccination was cancelled due to limited resources, which means that:
- it’s highly sought and therefore trustworthy?
- those considered to be at high risk may suffer deadly consequences from the shortage and,
- that maybe it’s positive and that my mother’s nagging won’t lead me to uncertain side-effects.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), target groups who should first receive the H1N1 vaccination include,
- pregnant women,
- people who care or live with children younger than 6 months,
- those in the healthcare field,
- people between 6 months and 24 years old
- and people ages 25 through 64 because of chronic disorders or compromised immune systems.
This includes both my mother and myself.
With the 1976 emergence of the swine flu, came the introduction of a vaccination that caused a neuromuscular disorder that lead to paralysis in some that received the vaccination; 25 people died from Guillain-Barré disorder and 500 others were diagnosed.
We can only hope that with evolution of technological advances, this year’s vaccine is safe.
CDC’s spokesperson, Tom Skinner, reports that the FDA has taken extra steps to protect the public, including the implementation of the Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System (VAERS); a mechanism that allows the public to report and monitor adverse reactions to inoculations.
Skinner says the only expected side effects include soreness at the injection site and mild body aches, which are normal after receiving vaccinations.
An article in Forbes offers a contradicting viewpoint, from Yanzhong Andrew Huang, an infectious disease specialist and director of the Center for Global Health Studies at Seton Hall University’s Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, who says it’s too early to tell what effects the vaccine will have.
Huang suggests that the swine influenza might also mutate later in the year making the vaccine incomparable. “We’ve been told that the second viral wave might be more lethal, and that would make the vaccine less effective,” he says.
Essential it’s up to you to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. However, according to an article in Science Daily, which focuses on the virus and pregnancy, 100 pregnant women have been hospitalized in intensive care united in the United States and 28 pregnant women have died.
Taken from CDC
A preliminary analysis of blood samples taken 21 days post-vaccination from a subgroup of 50 pregnant women participating in the trial shows the following:
- In 25 women who received a single 15-microgram dose of the vaccine, the H1N1 flu vaccine elicited an immune response likely to be protective in 92 percent, or 23 of 25, of these women.
- In 25 women who received a single 30-microgram dose of the vaccine, the H1N1 flu vaccine elicited an immune response likely to be protective in 96 percent, or 24 of 25, of these women.
… this proves to be hopeful.
In June, the swine flu was declared an epidemic by the World Health Organization. By late August, the organization claimed that there were more than 200 thousand cases of the flu and about two thousand deaths world-wide.
Currently the CDC reports that Oct. 18 through Oct. 24, influenza activity continued to increase in the United States as reported in FluView. Flu activity is now widespread in 48 states.
Nationally, visits to doctors for influenza-like-illness continue to increase steeply and are now higher than what is seen at the peak of many regular flu seasons.
And so, the question for me remains. If the vaccine does in fact become available, would I be more likely to face possible death because I am part of the target group or paralysis that spurs from the implementation of an irregularly used vaccine?