Monday, October 26, 2009

Pregnant Leanne: Week 21 - Between a rock and a hard place

October 26, 2009: Week 21 of pregnancy

I’m struggling with this H1N1 vaccine. Until last week, I’d never heard the word ‘adjuvanted’ much less, ‘unadjuvanted’. The media is obsessed with H1N1 reports and insists on broadcasting extreme cases on both sides: one girl dying from respiratory complications from getting the flu and one paralyzed by the vaccine. How is one meant to make an informed choice? Being 21 weeks pregnant, I am right in the "pregnant, second-trimester, (and thus) high-risk category." I’ve never had a flu shot before but given that this H1N1 is striking those under 65 with increased force, I’m seriously considering the vaccine. However, with so much contradictory information out there, I decided to visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website. It didn’t help. Here's an excerpt:
“Pregnant women should receive one dose of the unadjuvanted vaccine, of which Canada has ordered 1.8 million doses. In cases where the unadjuvanted vaccine is unavailable and H1N1 flu rates are high or increasing in the community, women more than 20 weeks pregnant should be offered one dose of the adjuvanted vaccine.”
The same website goes on to say:
“Based on advice from the World Health Organization earlier this year, the Government of Canada ordered 1.8 millions doses of unadjuvanted vaccine to offer pregnant women, since adjuvanted vaccine has not been widely tested in this group. However, all data to date indicates that adjuvanted vaccine is as safe as unadjuvanted vaccine.”
Is this not the definition of perfectly contradictory information? I hate this feeling. It’s a perfect gamble, if I assume something is going to go wrong, which in my current pregnant,-responsible-for-something-other-than-myself state of mind, I naturally think:
  1. Either I’m going to die from respiratory complications from the flu or
  2. I’m going to have a severe reaction to the vaccine, or my baby will.
I’ve made an appointment to speak with my doctor this week and hopefully he can answer the questions I have. I'm hoping he'll see me as a scared mom-to-be (and not as a member of the herd Canada he is looking to inoculate), who wants to do what is right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am 33 weeks, and I have decided not to take the H1N1 vaccine. Since I have only seven more weeks, I am trying to minimise my risk as much possible (wash hands, avoid eating out, avoid crowds, etc.) At work, I am starting an hour early and leaving an hour early, to avoid the load of commuters on the public transit system.

Regarding the vaccine; it is YOUR personal choice whether to take it or not. Get informed and do what YOU feel is best for you.