The H1N1 flu season is ramping up, and hospitals across the country are seeing the number of H1N1 cases grow quickly. For parents this is a particularly scary flu season, with H1N1 disproportionately affecting healthy children and adults.
On top of uncertainty about the disease itself is the question of whether parents should vaccinate their children for H1N1.
The CDC has released a lot of information suggesting the vaccine is safe, but parents are still uncertain about the vaccine. In a random sample of MomMD visitors (parents, students and physicians), only 39 percent were sure they would vaccinate their children, while 29 percent said they would not vaccinate their children. That echoes the results of a broader survey conducted by Consumer Reports H1N1 survey showing that only 35 percent of the public would vaccinate their children.
kpzr: Have one in my refrigerator right now, waiting for my son to get home from school!
Absolutely. I have faith in the CDC and trust their recommendation.
I got mine and my youngest son got his already.
What doctors will be doing about the H1N1 vaccine
Based on CDC guildelines doctors are recommending children get vaccinated, but what doctors say and what doctors do are often two different things.
So we asked physicians who are also moms whether they will be vaccinating their own children for H1N1.
The response was quite different than that of the general public: 85 percent of physicians plan to (or already have) vaccinate their children.
HAM: There are no proven cases of severe adverse effects of the vaccine but the pediatric mortality rate for H1N1 this year has already surpassed that of the entire flu season last year. Parents should know that >50% of deaths are among previously healthy children with no risk factors.
But even among physicians there was disagreement; 11% of physicians would not vaccinate their children.
ER_doctor: Most children getting H1N1 are recovering fine. And the actual numerical count of deaths from H1N1 *may* be higher (because we are now testing for it...looking for it) than the seasonal flu, but that's still statistically a minute percentage when all kids (even all kids with viral syndromes likely to be flu) are taken into consideration.
Doctors are having trouble finding the H1N1 vaccine too
For some parents the question isn't whether to get the vaccine, it's how to get the vaccine.
Vaccine supplies vary from location to location and day to day. Most pediatricians in Chicago, for example, only have the nasal, live-attenuated vaccine. In other places vaccine runs out immediately.
Physician parents are no different - most are having trouble getting access to the vaccine for their children.
One Chicago emergency room attending physician, and mom of two, had this to say: "Do I think my kids are going to die from H1N1? No. But I will vaccinate them if it's not too inconvenient. I'm already on the wait list at my pediatrician's office, so I'll come in if they call us."
Other H1N1 Resources
Physician Moms discuss the H1N1 vaccine