Why should(n't) I get the H1N1 vaccine?

I didn’t get any flu shots this year, though I always try to get the flu shot. The way I figure it is; you want to exposed to as many flu vaccines as possible. In the future if some unexpected flu strain comes along maybe you might have some partial immunity from a flu shot you got years before.

Hmm. How bad? If I get it on my next available opportunity, I have a job interview 20 hours later.

:eek: Greater or lesser than the vaccine?

My worst side effect from the live attenuated H1N1 vaccine was a yucky taste in my mouth for a couple hours. That wasn’t a side effect, that was the vaccine itself, running through my nasal cavities and into the mouth. In the years I’ve been getting the seasonal influenza injection, I’ve only had an achy upper arm after the seasonal influenza injection.

Since Guillain-Barre is an abnormal immune reaction of the body against “foreign antigens”, then to the best of my understanding, that means that any infectious agent - perhaps even contracting a cold virus - could trigger it in a person.

Guillain-Barre has been confirmed after only 4 vaccinations versus H1N1. Another four didn’t meet the diagnosis criteria, and 4 more are still being reviewed. Only 12 people had cases reported to the CDC.

It’s also temporary and recovered from completely in the vast majority of cases. It’s not a picnic, but then again, it doesn’t seem like the vast majority of people who get it have done anything that influences whether or not they actually contract it.

The normal vaccine is cultured in eggs, so if you’re allergic to eggs, you should avoid it. There is an alternative vaccine, however.

When I was working at the hospital last year, I had the jab, as did others in the office. Two of my colleagues were ill afterwards: one mildly, the other severely.

I should also add that when I got cold-like symptoms a few days after getting the seasonal influenza vaccination, a couple of my coworkers were saying, “whoa, see, the flu shot causes the flu!” I said no, my husband bringing home a cold means I get a cold. I’d been starting to get minor symptoms before the shot.

I always have pain and stiffness in the upper arm after the seasonal shot, but had no trouble whatsoever from the H1N1.

Not bad. Maybe something that might encourage you to take a single OTC pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil and possibly a decongestant. Not something that would require medication to get through the day, though. I haven’t known anyone whose flu shot response was worse than a mild cold. Side effects would be expected to be less with the shot than with FluMist, since the shot is killed virus.

I don’t know the details about flu and G-B risk, but what **Ferret Herder **said matches my understanding. Flu can also have other lasting side effects when it is severe. Except for the chicken/ egg allergy thing, pretty much anything that can happen to you from the flu shot can happen to you from the flu itself. Here is some info about research being done in Canada to study long-term consequences of H1N1 flu specifically http://www.ottawasun.com/news/canada/2009/10/14/11403836.html

Sorry to bump, but I’ve been doing more research, and there was apparently this 14 year old here in the States who got GBS hours after the vaccine last November. It’s gotten a lot of press. Sadly, Google has a lot of links that lead to “vaccine truth” and naturalistic medicine websites, which even in my mode of thinking, I tend to discount.

It’s a bit of a toughie for me. I got the job I mentioned in a previous post (woo hoo!), and it’ll be a major shining point in my resume, but it’s a contract job only three months long. GBS may be temporary, but I definitely do not want to miss the contract because I was totally paralyzed in some hospital bed.

OTOH, the points about how I could get it just from the flu are well-taken (and apparently ignored by the media and people at large). OTOOH, I’ve lived a good long time without getting the flu. OTOOOH, now that I have a job, that means more contact with people, and without the vaccine, I have the risk of flu and STILL don’t reduce my chances of GBS.

Here’s a question: if I get the H1N1 shot, and don’t get sick, would that generally “clear” me for seasonal ones in the future?

Anyway, I got a few more days 'til the decision has to be made, so any more opinions and/or links would be appreciated. Thanks!

GBS is something like 1 per million vaccinations. You’re probably more likely to contract H1N1 and die in spite of the vaccination than get GBS.

I got the H1N1 basically as soon as I could, for several reasons.

  1. I get the flu shot every year – I’m in a risk category for the flu (though I’m not sure about H1N1, because the risk categories are different) and the last time I didn’t get the flu shot, in 1997 or so, I came down with the flu. The flu is awful, as others have mentioned. I would be very happy never to get it again.

  2. People I know who got the H1N1 last fall were laid up for weeks by it. And these were young people (20s, 30s, 40s).

  3. The flu shot is one of the safest vaccines there is. I can’t let paranoia and conspiracy theories run my life or I’d never leave the house.

  4. This may not matter to you, but another reason the CDC and WHO (etc.) want people to get the vaccine is to stop the spread of the virus. When the virus appeared, no one already had immunity because it was a “new virus,” so health agencies were worried about the possibility of an epidemic. I’m not an epidemiologist, so I don’t know exactly what such an event would entail, but I gather it would be bad.

It’s much worse than normal strains of the flu. We just had a 5 year old boy in my area with no health risks (asma etc…) and the flu tore up his intestines to the point where he bled out. Everybody I know who got it went through hell.

Question: If you already got H1N1, do you still need the vaccine?

I’ve just realised that this is incorrect. The illnesses were after having the normal flu vaccine, not the H1N1 vaccine.

Hmm. How sick has H1N1 made people, on average? If it’s weeks, like some say, then that may be another point to getting the vaccine; a few weeks because of the flu vs. a few weeks paralyzed - either way I’d be missing work!

One of my colleagues was off for one day, the other several days. No one else in the office (12+) was adversely affected.

Yes, but your odds of getting the flu are far far higher than getting GBS. Look at it this way, the odds of getting GBS are one in a million. If every single person in the US got the H1N1 vaccine, 330 people may get GBS. According to the CBC as of a month ago between41 million and 84 million people have gotten the flu. So…330 vs 41,000,000…

Indeed. Though that’s why I asked what I did, to see if it was a small chance of getting the flu and not being bothered much at all vs. a small chance of being paralyzed.

Then again, now that I think about it, that doesn’t factor in the higher chances of getting GBS from the flu. I was also considering how “easy” it was to avoid the flu by just washing hands and not being around sick people. But considering tonight someone coughed while standing about a foot away from me before I could react, maybe it’s not as easy as it seems. :slight_smile:


Well, twelve hours or so until I have to decide. I really don’t know what I’m going to do yet. Either way, I’ll have to watch my health vigilantly - either for GBS or the flu itself. (As I said in the previous post, could just washing hands and stuff avoid the flu entirely? I dunno.)

If it weren’t for the fact that this new job is starting, a job that really opens up a lot of doors for me (but only IF I complete it) and offers much-needed income, this decision probably wouldn’t be as tough (if only because it’d mean I wouldn’t be out in public in a major metropolitan area). But as it is, the rest of my life’s path may hinge entirely on this one decision.

Looks like I’ve got a long, sleepless night ahead of me. But thank you everyone for your input thus far!

One other thing to consider: As a healthy 25-40 year-old with no other risk factors, you may be more likely to encounter healthy 25-40 year-old women, who happen to be at higher risk of becoming pregnant. Pregnancy vaults otherwise healthy women into the high-risk category. As someone who endured H1N1 during my first trimester, I’d have been very, very happy to have not been exposed. Just something for you to think about…

PS - I had H1N1 in September, before a vaccine was available to me. Otherwise, I’d’ve happily endured the needle jab. I hate needles, but being sick is even worse…

The seasonal flu vaccine for this fall will include H1N1 as 1 of the 3 strains. So many people like me will end up getting that flu protection twice.