FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 05, 2009
Fearful parents wary of swine flu vaccine
Ask your parents if they want you to get the H1N1 vaccine. Ask
them why they think it is safe or unsafe. What evidence are they
using to make their decision? What do you think?
Look for reports about local immunization programs in your
newspaper. What do health officials say about the vaccine? Who are
getting the first immunizations?
Keep looking for news reports on any adverse reactions to the
vaccine and deaths or hospitalizations from the H1N1 flu.
Fear that the swine-flu vaccine is unsafe because it was rushed to
production ahead of the winter sick season has left many parents
willing to skip the immunization and risk the virus.
The first batches of the vaccine are now being distributed around the
country. Officials are expecting to hand out 200 million doses by
the end of the year and 50 million more by the end of April.
Public health officials are recommending that children older than 6 months
and pregnant women be vaccinated first. Other high-priority
candidates are people with infants younger than 6 months, health care
workers, people 24 years old and younger, and people older than 24
who have other health conditions.
But, just 35 percent of parents say they definitely will have their
children vaccinated against H1N1, according to a Consumer Reports
poll released last week.
Almost 70 percent of those parents who said they were undecided or would not
have their children vaccinated said they wanted them to build natural
immunities. About 65 percent of those parents said they were worried
about whether the vaccine had been tested enough.
Tales of vaccine complications, many of them urban myths, are circulating
through blog sites and fueling alarm.
"What I want people to know is that no corners have been cut," said
Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"TheH1N1 vaccine is being produced exactly the same way the seasonal flu
vaccines were produced with exactly the same oversight. We've gone an
additional step with that and are doing extra clinical trails, and
those clinical trails so far have not found any red flags in terms of
Reports that parents are exposing their kids to the flu at "swine-flu
parties" to develop natural immunity have outraged some
"The bottom line is this is very dangerous to children," said Dr.
Margaret Lewin, chief medical director of Cinergy Health. "Are
you really going to risk your child's well-being? This flu vaccine is
being tested widely. Why wouldn't you want your child to have as much
immunity as possible?"
supporter says: "It's 1,000 times safer than getting the
flu." - John Bartlett, director of the Center for Civilian
Biodefense Strategies at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Skeptical parent says: "The flu has been around for years, and
usually you survive it. If we are going to vaccinate for everything,
our immune systems are never going to be challenged, and what does
that mean for our immune systems down the road?" - Gigi
Christensen of Louisville, Ky.
doctor says: "I want to look at the risk profile of the
particular child and the particular family when I talk about the
benefits and potential risks of the vaccine." - Julia Getzelman,
a pediatrician in San Francisco
Front Page Talking Points
is written by
Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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