In about an hour I will be taking my two little ones down the street to their school for H1N1 vaccines. The school system is providing them for all willing school children. I spent several weeks trying to decide whether or not to have them get it. Ultimately, Hubby and I decided to get the vaccine. I’m still not completely comfortable with it, but we know someone who recently died of pneumonia likely related to H1N1, so my fear of the disease is now greater than my unease with the vaccine.

The thing is, my kids likely just got over this flu two weeks ago. I took them both to the doctor to see if it was the dreaded H1N1, and I was told that is most likely was, but that they were not testing except in the most severe cases. The blood test, which the doctor said was the only reliable test available, would take six weeks to get results, and by then they would be better (and they are) so there was no real need to test them given that they weren’t so sick that they needed to be hospitalized. I asked him if they really needed the vaccine then, especially since there’s a clear shortage and I am allergic to long lines the sort of which have been reported at local vaccine clinics. The doctor said that he had just been discussing this very issue with the staff at the local ER, and they had concluded that absent a positive blood test for H1N1 (which my kids won’t be getting), we should assume that the kids hadn’t yet had H1N1 (though likely they had) and have them vaccinated just in case.

Great. So this evening my kids will be vaccinated against a disease they likely had because their mother is too chicken to take the small risk that they haven’t already built up an immunity to it. I love them, so I make them get a shot to ease my fear of losing them. If there had been a reliable quick test, their dosages could have been saved for someone else who may need it more. I’m not happy with this situation at all.

How did I get into the state where vaccines, which have clearly protected us against so many terrible diseases, are themselves worrisome? Why don’t I fully trust the medical community with my health and the health of my children? I think it might be because medicine overall is now obviously a profit making industry rather than a well-intentioned service. My doctors may care about me and my kids, but the people telling them to prescribe this and inject that don’t, and I think that their influence has grown beyond what is good for me and mine. And so I now find myself questioning everything the doctor tells me and wondering if I’m taking this pill rather than that because some pharmaceutical rep was nicer (or more generous) than another one this week.

Ah well, anyway…I’ve got to get them bundled up and down the street so we can stand in line with all the other chicken parents and nervous kiddies.