Monday, October 19, 2009


Look at this scary beast!

Influenza H1N1 - striking fear into the hearts of mothers and 24-hour news networks alike. Except that it's not. On the pediatrics floor where I'm working this month, there are so many parents I've talked with who just aren't sure about the new H1N1 vaccine. They're happy giving the seasonal flu shot, but are leary of the other. "Is it safe?" they ask. "I don't know," they say. Or in one case, "This is all just a damn conspiracy cover-up for a bioterror experiment gone bad."


I can't make parents give a shot to their kids, but it is awfully frustrating to hear how someone out there (the media?) has confused so many people about this. Here is some of the information I know:

  • The flu vaccine was produced by the SAME technique as the seasonal variety.
  • Most (in my area 99%) cases of flu are H1N1, so the seasonal vaccine will not cover you.
  • The best guesses out there are that younger patients may be at increased risk.
If you need more reasons, check out this list posted by an infectious disease doctor on the West Coast. As I see it, my job as a medical resident working on a pediatrics floor this month and in the ICU next month, I hardly have a choice in the matter of vaccination. I owe it to the patients and families I care for to build up my resistance. So when I learned that my hospital had made the vaccine available to staff from the women's and children's departments, I was among the first in line.

Plus, if I have a bad night tomorrow on call, I can blame it on all of those flu vaccine side effects!

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