I have 8 month old twin boys and I wondering how everyone feels about this brand new swine flu vaccination for this winter. Do you think its safe to give infants this new shot that has barely been tested?

asked 24 Sep '09, 04:06

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Shannon B
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edited 28 Nov '09, 23:30

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Tammy ♦♦

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I suspect that it's been tested as thoroughly as it can be, in many laboratories around the world. Obviously nothing's 100% certain, but most governments don't play fast and loose when it comes to licensing new drugs, IMO... particularly for kids.

I would personally feel comfortable using anything my doctor recommends... but consult first as to how necessary it is in your particular situation. Apart from anything else, the doctor is pretty much bound to have better information than anyone here :)

I think it's important to remember that with almost any medical treatment, it's a case of weighing risks.

  • What are the chances of your boys getting swine flu?
  • What might the consequences be?
  • What are the chances of the vaccine causing problems?
  • What might those problems be?

The difficulty is obviously that we really don't have particularly good information on any of this - although better on the first two than on the second. I don't know about Canada, but the current predictions in the UK make it sound like there's a pretty high probability of any one person getting the flu (I think the last I heard it was about 30%, which is pretty massive). I don't know the details of how dangerous swine flu is to infants, so I don't want to speculate and cause unnecessary scares - but I think it's worth asking your doctor or at least performing some research online. I suspect that the risks due to flu significantly outweigh those due to the vaccine, but this is as much gut feeling as anything else.

Of course, another benefit of the vaccine is to contribute to herd immunity. One of my irritations about the whole MMR debacle is that parents who don't vaccinate their kids at all against measles, mumps and rubella aren't just putting their own children at risk - they're putting others at risk too by lowering the herd immunity. Vaccination rates in London were very worringly low, last I heard :(


answered 24 Sep '09, 06:33

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Jon Skeet
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edited 24 Sep '09, 10:14

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Scott ♦♦

Someone on a list I frequent gave the following description of the swine flu vaccine:

Basically every year they take sample of viral genomes that have been found affecting patients. The normal flu vaccine usually includes about 3 different versions of these viral genomes that the drug companies think are the most likely ones to be circulating the next year. (This is why they always tell you that you can still get the flu even if you get a flu shot - it doesn't protect you from every possible genetic variant.) Then they "grow" multiple copies of these virus in a special population of eggs. They then mix these viruses with formaldehyde to kill them so that they cannot infect you but your body will still by able to make immune cells to fight them. They add various other preservatives and compounds to keep them viable and that is what you are injected with.

So for H1N1 they are using the same process with this particular viral genome, eggs from the same chickens, and the same compounding/preservative mixtures.

There was some discussion about adding something new to the H1N1 vaccine early on to boost the immune response (an adjuvant called squalene that has been used in Europe since the late 1990s) but this will not be added to the vaccine that is currently being produced.

So there isn't anything special about this vaccine except that they use dead H1N1 instead of one of the other variants. If you trust the flu shot, then you should trust this vaccine.


answered 01 Oct '09, 04:29

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Here's the source link but I suspect that most on here would not be interested in a parenting email list for Objectivists: http://groups.google.com/group/ogrownups/msg/d4a275f1fec9c8a0

(01 Oct '09, 04:31) bbrown

Dr. Bob Sears, author of The Vaccine Book, has an article online discussing various issues related to the swine flu vaccine. He also was interviewed about it on a podcast called Parenting Unplugged. I would suggest reading the article and using it to formulate some discussion questions with your own pediatrician.

Personally, I'm planning to get my 6 month old vaccinated.


answered 01 Oct '09, 14:14

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Kiesa ♦
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edited 01 Oct '09, 14:19

Thanks for these links.

(02 Nov '09, 06:34) Emily

I'm a big fan of Dr. Sears' approach to vaccinations.

(03 Nov '09, 13:55) Scottie T

I took my son to the doctor today for an unrelated matter. While there, the doctor reminded me to not only get both my kids in for regular flu shots, but to also get a swine flu vaccine for them when it is available.

From my perspective, because there have already been several swine flu cases in our area, I'm going to risk the vaccine if there is a chance of keeping my children safe from a much worse disease.

P.S. My 4 year old daughter got the nasal spray vaccination last Tuesday. It's now been 5 days with no negative effects. Because of shortages I'm still waiting on shots to become available for my 1 year old son. There also have been reports of children in the area dying from Swine Flu so I'm even more certain that my son will be vaccinated as soon as possible.


answered 25 Sep '09, 05:44

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edited 31 Oct '09, 18:17

How I reached my decision is by asking my cousin who works at SickKids as a pediatrician, as well as my friend who is the Health.ca and Parentcentral.ca editor (so is inundated with H1N1 articles, info, questions) whether they would vaccinate their own children.

Both of them answered flat out, "Absolutely."


answered 19 Oct '09, 03:33

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We had our daughter's two year appt. yesterday. Our pediatrician did not recommend the swine flu vaccine and she is very pro-vaccine. She believes it is too new and hasn't gone through as many clinical tests to make it safe. She encouraged washing hands and staying away from sick people as much as possible.


answered 24 Sep '09, 15:23

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Our 3 year old managed to contract Swine Flu this summer with no direct (obvious) contact with anyone who was ill. It is not always obvious that someone has it or has recently had it and is still infectious.

(28 Sep '09, 22:27) Colin

hope your 3 year old is doing okay.

(29 Sep '09, 15:13) Michelle

I just like to put the whole discussion into relation.

Furthermore I'd like to say sorry in advance, as I can only provide sources in German language.

In Germany, there are about 15000 people per year who die because of influenza.

Up to now, there is one dead person because of swine flu in Germany (who had different other health problems).

This page shows, that there are statistics that do not show any significant advantage for people who received a flu vaccination (they included only people below 65 years). In the text they cite an English source: (Effectiveness and Cost-Benefit of influenza vaccination of healthy working adults – a randomized controlled trial. Bridges, C.B. et. al. JAMA 2000; 284:1655-63 ): There are a lot of possible complications, the most common is an allergic reaction.

I think, everybody has to decide for himself, if this really poses a threat, or if it is jumping at shadows. Is the risk of not only acquiring the swine flu, but also for it to come to a bad, worth the risk of acquiring a defect from the vaccination. Especially if the vaccination is worth nothing after very few years. And the answer is probably different for every person, depending on the current health or other factors.


I just read an article in "Spiegel Online". A german paper with a good reputation. There they cite doctors, that advise against the vaccination for people that are immunocomprised (in this case people with cancer).
They (President of a german organisation of pediatricians is cited) also say, that the vaccination was not tested for children of age of three and below, neither for pregnant women.

Problem is: those are the people who are most likely to get the swine flu (young, old, people with a bad immune system).

Furthermore (I have to say: if I understood that correctly) germany mostly bought the vaccine with an adjuvant, that should result in a more efficient immune reaction. This vaccine with the adjuvant is not released by the FDA (although the USA also bought it as a reserve - for worst case).

The article goes deeper even, but I think thats not to the point here.

As I think this is a pretty important information, maybe someone can verify this and post an english article/source for this?


answered 16 Oct '09, 07:54

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edited 19 Oct '09, 11:54

We were planning on waiting because there has not been enough testing on the shot. we will see if there are any side effects after the first of the year....we will also wait to hear what the doctor says when we go for the baby's appointment.


answered 24 Sep '09, 17:44

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My understanding is that this is the same vaccine process that they use every year (and vary which strains they fight every year). What makes you think it's any less tested, or more likely to be dangerous, than the ordinary seasonal flu shot?

(02 Oct '09, 01:19) lgritz

answered 31 Oct '09, 02:57

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That's an interesting video, and I'd never heard of RT before. Thanks for posting that. By the way, if anyone wants an example of what unmoderated content on the internet looks like, just read the comments on YouTube for that video... oh my goodness!

(01 Nov '09, 00:00) Scott ♦♦

Both the regular flu shot and the swine flu shot contain thimerosal - the mercury based preservative that has been linked to autism. The way they make the regular flu shot is a by doing an educated guess on the strains of flu that are most likely to cause the most illness in a given year. They take the top few (I believe its 3), combine them and offer it as the 'flu shot'. The swine flu is simply another strain of flu virus which they expect to be rampant this year.

Personally I would not get either shot myself due to the thimerasol so I would certainly not give it to my child. Its my opinion from all that I have read, that its not safe.

You really need to do your own independant research and come up with the best plan for your family.

Here is some backup:

Since 1980, the documented start of California's autism epidemic, the number of new cases has steadily increased. Mercury-containing vaccines are still in use today, including the most recently recommended addition to the childhood immunization schedule, 2 shots of flu vaccine for infants, bringing the total number of vaccines up to 41 in California that a child will receive before the age of two. Building Wellness with DMG by Roger V Kendall PhD, page 105

"Probably 20% of American children, one in five, suffers from a "development disability'," according to Harris Coulter, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Center for Empirical Medicine, in Washington, D.C. "This is a stupefying figure and we have inflicted it on ourselves. 'Development disabilities' are nearly always generated by encephalitis. And the primary cause of encephalitis in the U.S. and other industrialized countries is the childhood vaccination program. Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 1101

Almost from the inception of vaccination programs, manufacturers added a mercury preservative called thimerosal to vaccines. The practice continued until recently, and was stopped only because of the outcry from parents and experts. The US Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice did not warn parents or pediatricians that the mercury was dangerous until they were forced to. That mercury was toxic to cells had been known for over sixty years, but manufacturers apparently were more worried about lawsuits… Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 165

Vaccines are effective, but the production and use of vaccines should proceed more cautiously. Currently manufactured vaccines still contain harmful substances like mercury. The link between vaccines and autism is far stronger than the medical community is willing to admit, and more research in this area should be an urgent priority. Building Wellness with DMG by Roger V Kendall PhD, page 105

Rather than calling for an all-out immediate ban on thimerosal-containing vaccines, they suggested that parents continue to have their children vaccinated with mercury-contaminated vaccines until new stocks of uncontaminated vaccine could be made available. Here are two doctors' unions that had to be beat over the head with an overwhelming amount of data that mercury-contaminated vaccines were harming children far worse than the actual diseases against which the vaccine was intended to protect them Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 167

Are you surprised to discover that recent investigations have found that several doctor-members of vaccine boards were either receiving grants from vaccine manufacturers or held stock in the companies? They were willing to sacrifice the health of millions of children just to fill their pockets with cash. These people should be looking through bars, not serving on boards. Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 167

Multiple vaccinations, especially in newborns, are another major source of childhood mercury exposure because of the mercury-containing thimerosal preservative. Over twenty-two vaccinations are now recommended for children before the age of two! Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 64

Mercury and autism mercury toxicity is a suspected cause of a steep rise—a tenfold increase between 1984 and 1994—in diagnosed cases of autism in children around the world, according to some scientists. Specifically, the culprit is thimerosal, a mercury-based compound used as a preservative in vaccines commonly administered to babies and infants. thimerosal-free vaccines are available. If you have a child who will be receiving vaccinations, ask for and make sure thimerosal-free vaccines are used. Prescription For Dietary Wellness by Phyllis A Balch, page 198

Studies of autistic children have frequently shown very high levels of mercury, with no other source but vaccines found for the exposure. These levels are equal to those seen in adults during toxic industrial exposures. Several autism clinics have found dramatic improvements in the behavior and social interactions in children from whom the mercury was chelated. Results depended on how soon the mercury was removed following exposure, but permanent damage can be caused if the metal is not chelated soon enough. Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 166

Thousands of families say they can demonstrate with videotapes and photos that their children were normal prior to being vaccinated, reacted badly to the vaccines, and became autistic shortly thereafter. The number of vaccines given before age two has risen from 3 in 1940, when autism occurred in perhaps one case per 10,000 births, to 22 different vaccines given before the age of two in the year 2000. Building Wellness with DMG by Roger V Kendall PhD, page 104

Now all childhood vaccines have at least one mercury-free version, and I urge parents to ask for those versions if they choose to vaccinate their children. Injecting mercury into children, especially infants whose immune systems are still underdeveloped (hepatitis B shots are typically given at birth, before the immune system has developed), can be an assault to the immune system. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Autoimmune Disorders by Stephen B Edelson MD, page 65


answered 01 Oct '09, 04:13

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edited 16 Oct '09, 04:17


The whole vaccination/autism link has been debunked, it was based on bad science. "A 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee favored rejecting any causal relationship between thiomersal-containing vaccines and autism.[38] Currently there is no accepted scientific evidence that exposure to thiomersal is a factor in causing autism.[39]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_controversy

(01 Oct '09, 09:08) kurtseifried

Not all flu vaccines contain thimerosol:


Our son's flu vaccine (which our ped is dividing into 2 doses, given a month apart) was thimerosal-free.

Also from that same link:

"Numerous studies have found no association between thimerosal exposure and autism."

(19 Oct '09, 14:38) BetsyB

Thats great to know - unfortunately our pedi is using the multi dose and I just wont allow my daughter to get any thimerosal - its not worth the risk to me. I will call around and see if I can find a single dose somewhere.

(19 Oct '09, 15:10) dreamerisme

From the FDA's website: "...because of the increased number of thimerosal containing vaccines that had been added to the infant immunization schedule, concerns about the use of thimerosal in vaccines and other products have been raised... the Food and Drug Administration has worked with, and continues to work with, vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines." -- http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228

(21 Oct '09, 05:56) KPW

Here's an interesting recent article about thimerosal. I wish THEY would have linked to the actual study though. -- New Study Demonstrates Significant Harm From Just ONE Mercury-Containing Vaccine -- http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/10/22/New-Study-Demonstrates-Significant-Harm-From-Just-ONE-Mercury-Containing-Vaccine.aspx

(23 Oct '09, 21:28) KPW
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Asked: 24 Sep '09, 04:06

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Last updated: 28 Nov '09, 23:30