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Nov 14

“It’s only a little prick”

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 in Family, Philosophy, Something to think about

K8 the Gr8.  K8 the host of a 16 week old foetus, K8 the mother of a disabled child with a tendancy towards chronic chest-infections, K8 the mother of a school-aged child… K8 the skeptic.

I am at risk thrice over from this swine flu (H1N1) pandemic, and I’m forced to make a very bloody difficult decision indeed.

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To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate?

The death of a pregnant woman earlier this week touched the hearts of the nation, she had contracted the virus and was unable to fight it.  She is me, I is she… I couldn’t help but bite my nails when I heard the news.  The vaccine was rolled out in Laughingboy’s school a week or so ago, but I refused permission for my son to have it.  After all, the last time I allowed him a flu-shot it knocked his immune system so badly, he ended up with pneumonia.  Santa at Christmas Eve in a ward full of sick children is a very sad sight indeed, a sight I’d rather avoid in the future.

I consider the facts as far as I can delve… this current vaccine seems to be the same vaccine that has been used for the same flu virus for the last twenty-odd years.  Call me naive, but I figure that this H1N1 virus is slightly more intelligent than Mary Harney… I figure it has the ability to evolve, to mutate into a sickness that may, in all probability, flip the birdie at a vaccine that’s nearly older than myself.

“It is generally agreed both nationally and internationally that potential complications associated with H1N1 in pregnancy far outweigh any possible risks associated with vaccination in pregnancy.” www.rcpi.ie

The problem is, they don’t really know to the full extent, what those complications are, because it hasn’t been tested that thoroughly yet.  My mother summed it up in one very highly intelligent (if not slightly scary) word; ‘Thalidomide‘.  She’s right – there is always that possibility, no matter how remote.  I am being asked to allow a toxin into my system… a system that is already slightly more volatile than it normally would be.  Who is to say that my child won’t develop leukaemia or cancer or some other sort of miasm as a result of this foreign toxin?  Nobody, it would seem.

From a truly sceptical point of view, there’s a chemical company somewhere with an enormous wadge of cash in its kitty as a result of this scare… whether this is a coincidence or not, I’d rather not guess.  Is it a coincidence that companies in this financial climate need money now more than ever?  I’m just saying, is all.

This whole thing smacks a little of a Stephen King novel – the media pulls no punches when it comes to scaring the bollix out of people like me.

To quote today’s Evening Herald:

“The vaccine is currently the best defence we have against the pandemic – and that message needs to sound loud and clear.”

I beg to differ, and I have the advice of not one, but two doctors behind my theory.

I wasn’t met with shock when I announced my decision not to be vaccinated, instead I got a warm smile.  I was assured that viruses of all shapes and sizes are common in winter months, and they don’t all make the headlines.  Ever heard of Clostridium Difficile?  This is another bug making its rounds.  Then there’s the famous Vomiting virus… that seems to have conveniently disappeared into oblivion, but I’ll bet my left boob it’s still hanging around.

No, the best defence against H1N1 for a duffed-up woman like me according to these doctors, is just to take care of myself.  I am to eat proper food… raw fruit and vegetables, well cooked meat, three eggs per week, wholemeal bread and rice.  I am to take a nap whenever the fancy takes me, and I am to think happy thoughts.  There is no need for Pregnacare, or extra vitamins (bar the inevitable Folic Acid during the first month) or any of these prettily packaged gimmicks with happy pregnant bumps on the front, aimed at mothers who just want to do their best… they’re completely unnecessary as long as you follow the pyramid.  I can do that!

I am happily considering the fact that the Health Service can keep their little prick.

So marks the famous last words of K8 the Gr8.

Bring on the comments

  1. I have a chronic disease and so I have had my H1N1 shot. I get the flu shot every year. I have shots against measles, mumps and rubella, TB, hepatitis A and B, polio, yellow fever, the list goes on. While I cannot guarantee you 100% that there is no risk to having a vaccine, I can tell you that the risk of catching H1N1 is significant and that there are definite, known risks to a mother and her child once she has the flu. I can also tell you that countless lives have been saved by vaccinations – again the risk of having the vaccination is far outweighed by the risk of contracting a disease and its consequences. I would never, ever tell anyone what they should or should not do in regards to their own bodies, but I would hope that people can see beyond the rhetoric and hype associated with scaremongery and conspiracy theories related to vaccinations and other modern medicines. End of rant – sorry. Please don’t take offence. And yes, you are right when you say that the best thing that you can do is take care of yourself, eat well and rest when you need to. Congratulations and good luck!

  2. I was offered it and i said no for mostly the same reasons as you. It all seems very rushed and i dont think they know enough about it to encourage people to get it.

    I’d be wary of the consequences of getting the jab. Even more so for a pregnant lady. So don’t get it is my advice.

  3. First off – congratulations!!!

    Fiona got the shot. We himmed and hawed for a few weeks, and listened to all the rguments for and against, and she wasn’t going to get it at one stage but the risks of not getting it won out for us in the end.

    “I figure that this H1N1 virus is slightly more intelligent than Mary Harney” great line.

    Good luck!

  4. K8 says:

    Don’t Bug Me!; No offence taken – your words are the exact same being whispered into my left ear… my right ear is hearing all about the various people who have had the jab and who have been flattened by it (given that’s not everybody of course), with aches, pains, fever etc… for roughly a week. I can’t afford a week of sickness! I’m hearing your words from a good (also pregnant) friend too – she doesn’t understand my mindset at all. It’s all about making a rational decision, trying to leave scepticism and panic out of it altogether. A very, very tough call.

    The Raving Dave; Thanks for commenting! I agree that it seems rushed, without proper consideration for testing side-effects. It’s so hard to find un-biased information, which seems a tad dodgy.

    John Braine; Thanks!! On the advice of a good friend, I’ve decided to try the homoeopathic version of the flu vaccination… it’s worked extremely well for Laughingboy in the past, I don’t know why I didn’t consider it this time. Chemicals just weird me out, man…. possibly a genetic throwback from the 60’s?

  5. Kirk M says:

    I would have to say that you made the right decision. As sad as it is that a pregnant woman died because of the virus I have to wonder if the results wouldn’t have been the same if she had contracted any of the other types of flu out there. By what I understand, the swine flu is actually milder to most extents than most traditional flu’s, just a bit more catching which is typical of new flu’s just out of the gate.

    You’re a healthy individual, K8 and as long as you haven’t pounded down the antibiotics every single time you caught a snivel your immune system should be able to handle the flu…no matter what name it goes by.

    And BTW, congratulations on number 3 (current codename: “The Bump”)

  6. I was looking forward to getting the vaccine, until I did some reading up on it. First of all, there’s no proof that this vaccine they currently have will stop anyone from catching the virus. Secondly, the multi-use vials for the vaccine are allowed to contain thimerosol. That’s here in the States, I don’t know about over there. While I don’t think that thimerosol is definitively linked to autism or any other illnesses, why take the chance when there are other preservatives that are used in vaccines and work just fine? I’m with you, I suspect money’s being made somewhere, and the joke’s on us.

    Furthermore, H1N1 is not a seasonal flu. Here in Southern California people have had it since it was first identified. We had our first cases right after Mexico did. My family caught (and were diagnosed by a doctor) it in March, and we just caught it AGAIN (again, diagnosed by a doctor, who this time found that it was a different strain) in October, and this time we were down sick for most of October. Before this, I had only had the flu once in my entire life, and I’m 40 next month. So, that means that the virus is mutating rapidly, rapidly enough that people in the same area can come down with 2 different strains within 8 months. And the yearly/regular seasonal flu hasn’t even hit here yet.

    But what really chaps my thighs is that the pharmacies here were offering flu shots at $25 a pop, and were pleased to let their customers think that they were being protected against H1N1. My pharmacy was not at all happy when I informed people in line that this seasonal flu shot they were getting had nothing to do with H1N1. Is that not a form of lying? I know my mother would have smacked my bum for something like that.

    I figure that H1N1 is either going to peter out, or go all Spanish Flu. Either way, the best things to do about it are just what you said: Eat healthy, rest, wash your hands, etc. If it does go all Spanish Flu, there’ll be a portion of the population that won’t be affected by it, and that’s people who were alive in the mid-1950’s. It seems that this virus is related to one that went around then, related enough that people’s bodies recognize it and can fight it off. Hopefully H1N1 won’t mutate so much that that is no longer a possibility, but it could happen. The first bout we caught was mild, the second bout was horrendous.

    Still, I’m wondering why there’s so much panic and hype over something that hasn’t killed, maimed, or even highly inconvenienced that many people. Again, I’m with you; I suspect it’s all about the benjamins, baby. It’s very much like all the hype and paranoia that happened over here after 9/11. Sure, some 3,000 people were killed, but how many people are killed every year here in the US by drunk drivers? I guess it’s hard to make money off of stopping drunk driving, and even harder to use that to get people to be all “patriotic” and fulfill some agenda.

    There was a great bumper sticker here in the early 70’s, it said “Of course you can trust the government, just ask an Indian.”

  7. i think that you should do whats right for you and the bump. i m asthmatic so i am thinkning heaveily about getting the swine flu shot. but seeing as the fact that i always have the worse luck in getting sick with these so called shots im personally not going for it. I would just try and avoid people who might have that flu.

  8. Martin says:

    In the end we went with herself getting it, once the scaremongering was put aside, the facts for us were that she was better of getting it than not.

  9. Holemaster says:

    I got the jab last week. I think there is bound to be a risk when taking something new like this vaccine. But let’s hope those fears do not come to pass and all that happens is less people get swine flu. The death rate for swine flu is the same as regular flu. It’s just that more people are getting it.

    By the way, there is some dispute around the death of that poor woman. The family were questioning the cause of death.

  10. unstranger says:

    K8, terrific post recently, as for this one it surprises me not that you have chosen to reject this poison and poison is exactly what it is.

    No mistake, pregnant women cannot consume anything unnatural as the effects can and have of course been devastating.
    Your ability to think for yourself has always been evident in this blog.
    But (an aside) did you know that that ability alone disqualifies you from ever getting a job as a civil servant here in ireland? Just thought I’d pop that in.

    In any case stick to your guns and expect to eventually hear the revelations that the anti virus actually caused more deaths than the H1N1 ever did!

  11. Kate says:

    Hi K8 – Many congratulations for your baby news!

    Flu jabs? Well my son’s wife is a pharmacist and does not rate the new vaccine. And me – well I have twice had the ‘normal’ flu jab and on both occasions I have been very ill after it with flu like symptoms. I don’t think I’ll bother again.

    Avoid the little prick?…..sound advice!

  12. Voodoolady says:

    A free flu jab email came around work last week and I signed up in about 2 seconds.

    I got it last year and didn’t have so much as a sniffle. I’m not saying the flu jab ‘worked’ but I don’t think it did me any harm.

    I guess if I am offered the H1N1 I will probably get it for the same reasons.

    Also, congrats :)

  13. K8 says:

    Brianf; That’s the same sort of stuff that’s all over the place… it’s information without really being information. It might as well be selling the atom bomb… anything can be worded the right way if you think about it. I need ingredients, side effects, that sort of thing.

    Kirk M; Ah yes, so labelled the latest Grandad update! Thank you :) The installation process is going smoothly! As for antibiotics, I steer clear… there’s something wholly unnatural about killing antibodies I reckon.

    Fat Sparrow; Well said!! Viruses seem too intelligent to be quelled so easily. In fact, it’s probably the vaccine that is to blame for the mutations. Catch 22, that is. I’m staying put with my vitamin C, thanks!

    Vicky; Good luck, I hope you stay healthy this winter – I know studying is stressful so you’ve really got to take care of yourself! Plenty of Echinacea for you maybe? That stuff is a brilliant alternative.

    Martin; That one short sentence that holds me in the balance. It’s hard looking at the bigger picture when you have a fever I guess.

    Holemaster; Thanks, I was wondering about the real difference between strains… it explains why they’re using the standard vaccine for both types. I also heard a rumour that health/government officials are getting a different version of vaccine – but this is probably just what it is, a rumour. I try to stay clear of anything surrounded by useless gossip, it’ll be the death of me! It’s difficult to trust the people who keep bloody lying about everything else.

    Unstranger; Who wants to be a civil servant?! They’re pawns! I want to be the dude that moves in an ‘L’ shape when you least expect him to! I doubt the vaccine will actually kill, but I worry about its knock-on effects to the immune system. When they don’t even let pregnant women use something as benign as lavender oil, it just seems bizarre that they’d push an un-tested toxin. Very bizarre.

    Kate; Thank you!! Your experience is like that of Laughingboy’s… the poor kid was flattened the one and only time I jabbed him. I hope this winter finds you safe and healthy and warm and very slightly embibed at all times. :)

    Voodoolady; Cheers! You’re of the same mind and constitution as my buddy… she’d slap me if she’d get away with it, she doesn’t see how the vaccine can do any harm at all, and got away without complications. Then again, she never got caught in class for passing notes, whereas I always did. There’s some sort of pattern there, damned if I can find it.

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