Katie is already quite a bit behind on the standard Canadian vaccine schedule. FYI - It's almost identical to the US version. She had a bad reaction (2 days of low grade fever) to all of the vaccines she's received to date, which is the reason we're spacing them out in 6 months intervals. That's really here nor there with H1N1 though.
Katie hasn't had a seizure since she had Meningitis, but we know that she is at a very high risk for them.
I knew this information already, but Katie's Neurologist just recently confirmed the following:
- 2/3's of children with a brain injury who are going to develop a seizure disorder in their lifetime will start having them before the age of 2.
- 98% of the other 1/3 will get them before the age of 6.
- A cold or flu increases that risk even more, even without a fever.
- A cold or flu WITH a fever increases that risk exponentially.
Soooo, we try to do everything we can to avoid all colds and flus in our house. We ask our family and friends to stay away if they've been sick, or have been around someone who was sick over the past week. We use tons of hand sanitizer and wash our hands like crazy. And I'm going to avoid bringing Katie to crowded places this winter. Which really stinks!
Our dilemma with the H1N1 vaccine is that the vaccine itself will give her a fever for 2 days (based on her track record of 100% of vaccines = fever). So, I have no idea what we're going to do yet. Our options are:
- Get the vaccine and automatically risk 2 days of fever. AND potentially unknown long-term side effects of the vaccine.
- Don't get the vaccine and risk a flu that could range from mild to severe with fever and other complications.
- Don't get the vaccine and she stays healthy.
I've heard different opinions from many of our trusted medical advisors. They're all over the map. I have no idea which one, if any, have the "right" answer.
I know we're not alone in worrying about what is in the vaccine, what are the side effects (both short and long term) and which vaccine is the "best" one to get if we do go ahead with it. I thought I'd compile the information that I have to date on the vaccine.
There are essentially four different types of vaccine that your doctor will get/order.
- Regular group vial doses: This is what the majority of people will get if they choose to be vaccinated. It will come in a large vial containing multiple vaccines with Thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative. It prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi and stabilizes the vaccine so that it remains effective over time. I have many, many hours of research under my belt on vaccines and Thimerosol, and just don't feel comfortable putting Thimerosal into Katie's blood stream for any vaccine.
- Adjuvanted Individual Doses: Most of the individual doses have been Adjuvanted. Which means that they have an additive which is meant to boost the bodies immune response.
- Unadjuvanted Individual Doses: These have been put aside here in Canada for both Pregnant women and children under 3. I would suspect there is a very good reason for this. (Can't find much more specific info) Therefore you may want to ask your doctor to be sure your child is getting the unadjuvanted vaccine.
- FluMist Nasal Spray Vaccine: This is the version of the vaccine that contains a small amount of the live H1N1 virus. The other vaccines contain dead H1N1 virus. It is rare, but some people who have had the FluMist vaccine have passed the live virus on to others close to them. At the moment the nasal spray version will not be given in Canada. Canada's "health and safety" is conducting their own tests on this product and won't be ordering it until all tests are complete.
Another unanswered question about the vaccine is....How many doses will adults/children need? In Canada the jury is still out. They will be making a decision before the vaccine becomes available, sometime in November. More and more recent research has shown that most people are well covered with only one vaccine.
What are you doing about the H1N1 virus? what are your concerns?
The more input we have, the more prepared we will be to make out decision.