• Sat, Dec 28 - 3:00 pm ET

5 Are Dead In Texas Due To Flu, But Tell Me Again How The Vaccine Is Worse…

Oh no! The big, terrible flu vaccine strikes again. No, wait…it’s the flu. The flu is the issue here. That is what is striking again in Texas. According to news reports, at least five people have died in Texas, of the flu, and four of them are due to H1N1, aka our old buddy the swine flu. But please, tell me again how the flu vaccine is more dangerous than the actual effing flu.

The report from Texas’ THV11 is heartbreaking, and yes, it has strengthened my resolve to make sure my kids get inoculated. Ashley Wright, whose husband just passed away from H1N1, freely admits that they didn’t take the threat seriously:

“You don’t think it would happen to you,you know. We always worried about my son getting the flu shot. We’re never really worried about the two of us because you don’t really hear about any of this, you don’t think it will happen to you.”

Thankfully, according to authorities in Texas, this year’s vaccine can prevent both swine flu and several other strains. If people take the shot, that is.

http://www.thv11.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=2977496626001

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  • Jessie

    I think it really depends on the person. For some people with certain forms of weakened immune systems, the flu vaccine CAN be more dangerous than just risking the flu itself because they’re actually injecting the virus straight into their body instead of just doing all in their power to remain healthy (washing hands, staying away from sick people, etc). I have a friend who is like this, and I am myself. I’m less likely to get the flu if I DON’T get the shot than if I DO get it, every time I’ve gotten it before I end up nearly in the hospital with the flu (there was actually a time I probably SHOULD have been in the hospital because my fever was so high, but I was dumb and didn’t go and I’m lucky not have brain damage). Some of us really are just better off taking all the normal, non-vaccine precautions to be sure we don’t get sick when it comes to the flu.

    To each their own, however. I know dozens of other people who CAN/HAVE TO get the shot in order to not end up sick, so I say do whatever works for you and yours.

    • Jessie

      *not to have brain damage.

    • Harriet Meadow

      Did you have the active or inactive version of the vaccine? I’m just curious, as I had thought that the inactivated version wouldn’t cause someone to get so sick!

    • Momma425

      With the flu vaccine- there are two versions: the inter nasal one is usually a live virus vaccine. Some people DO get sick from it- and by that I mean if they are complaining, it is probably good that they got vaccinated because “sick from a live virus flu shot” sick is miniscule compared to the actual flu.
      With the SHOTS (fluzone and the preservative free version), what you are getting is an inactive virus, or what is also known as a dead virus. You can’t get sick from that vaccine. As a nurse, I find it so funny when I ask patients if they want the flu shot, and they say no because one year they got “so sick from it.” Whatever they got sick with may have been a flu, but not the same strain they were vaccinated against. If they got sick “right after” the vaccine, the probably got it from someone in the waiting room.
      You don’t know how many people I ask if they want the shot, they say no “because I don’t want to get sick” and then change their mind when they hear about the inter nasal option. People just don’t like shots, or watching their kids get shots.

    • Jessie

      I’ve gotten sick both ways (tried to vaccinate twice and now I just don’t bother), and while I am well aware that an inactive shot cannot make me sick, as you say the people in the waiting room CAN, be it while I am waiting or even just afterwards before it takes full effect. The live virus shot was actually the one that nearly landed me in the hospital. Or I can just end up with a completely different strain of the flu than the vaccine protects against, which just defeats the purpose in my eyes. I have no problem getting shots, needles do not bother me and the one second of pain from the injection fades quickly. No kids, but I wouldn’t have a problem getting them a shot if needed, either. I believe that vaccines are good for the most part, they protect us from some seriously nasty stuff.
      I just know my body and my health, and I’ve found that for me, personally, the flu vaccine is just not a reliable option. I don’t work around people and rarely leave my house, so I stand a better chance of staying healthy just doing what I always do.

    • Jessie

      Or rather, the intranasal made me sick, since it’s not a SHOT in the traditional sense I suppose I shouldn’t call it that. Then my compromised immune system finished the job, so while for most people “sick from a live virus shot” versus “sick from actual flu” may be miniscule in comparison, for someone like me there’s actually not much of a difference. If I get sick, it’s always bad and will possibly (most likely) involve a trip to the hospital at some point or another.

    • Lindsey

      The spray cannot cause the flu. The live virus is attenuated, meaning that while it is still alive, it doesn’t have the capacity to make someone ill. Unless, of course, you have a weakened immune system, in which case, you shouldn’t get the nose one. It is only for healthy people ages 2 to 49.

    • Jessie

      Yes, I know that now, but unfortunately my doctor at the time failed to alert me to the fact that a weakened immune system can cause problems. There’s a reason I now have a different doctor.

    • AugustW

      Interestingly enough, the shot takes two weeks to be effective. So it’s possible you got the shot, and then got the flu sometime before the two week mark.

    • Jessie

      That is exactly my point. Even with the inactive shot, the odds of me getting sick are still higher than if I just stay home, keep clean, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and don’t hang around sick people. The time in the waiting room or even just the trip out of the office is enough for a bug to get me if I’m unfortunate.
      I’m not saying my way is the right way for everyone, I think some people might be misunderstanding me, but for ME it is the right way. By all means, I say people should do whatever works for them, live and let live as they say. Everyone’s body and health is different. I’ve just found that my way keeps me healthier than going into the germ factory that waiting rooms are and praying I don’t contract the illness before or after getting the shot.

    • AugustW

      I agree with you. I reserve my vaccination intensity for the preventable childhood diseases generally. Although I do pay fir my mom to get her flu shot yearly because she watches my daughter while I’m in school. She got a shingles shot for Xmas, lmao.

    • CMJ

      I’m curious: what does your doctor say about the flu shot?. You haven’t mentioned their opinion.

    • Jessie

      As a doctor, mine is very pro-flu vaccine, however she is naturally also well aware of my compromised immune system and I have described at length the methods I use to remain healthy during flu season as well as year round. As such, she has agreed that seeing as I’m not around other people a good 95% of my time and I don’t really leave my house, my not risking the flu by attempting to vaccinate is most likely better for me in the long run, because if I get the flu (be it via the vaccine failing or simply contracting it before I even get the vaccine) I stand a very high chance of landing in the hospital.
      Again, this is purely in MY PERSONAL CASE. I’m not saying this should work for everyone, or even that it WOULD world for everyone. This is just for me, and of course if I even feel SLIGHTLY ill I will quarantine myself from non-immediate family, children, and friends until I know it’s gone.
      This is why the topic of vaccination is so touchy for me, because while I am all for it in most cases, when it comes to something as dodgy as the flu it’s just either not safe or it’s not reliable for some people, like myself.

    • Jessie

      *work for everyone. I apologize, typing while tired is a dangerous thing.

    • personal

      I’m pro-vaccine, but had to jump in here to state that the flu vaccine is not 100% effective. Some people WILL still get the flu they are vaccinated against, so it could happen. Not from the shot, but that they catch the flu.
      I think I read somewhere that this year’s vaccine is 70-something percent effective.

    • Momma425

      True- but getting the flu shot won’t GIVE someone the flu.
      There are ways to get the flu anyway- if it isn’t effective, getting a different strain, or being exposed to the flu either right before or right after the shot before it has taken effect. But, again, the shot itself doesn’t MAKE people get the flu, and I hear all the time people who think otherwise.
      So, Jessie, thank you for clarifying that it was the NASAL version of the vaccine that made you sick. When people walk around talking about the shot making them sick, others believe it and also don’t get flu shots. In reality, the shot does not CAUSE anyone to get the flu. People can still get the flu, but they aren’t out anything by getting the shot.

  • Tinyfaeri

    I’m so sorry for the people in Texas and their families. I wish people would take influenza more seriously; it’s not just a bad cold, it’s a serious viral infection.

    • Rachel Sea

      Even a flu which does not kill can permanently damage. I was deaf for a month because of a flu when I was 16, and my hearing never fully recovered.

  • Kay_Sue

    It is something to take seriously, but on the other hand, I think it’s a discussion for people to have with their doctor.

  • FF4life

    Omg I was actually feeling nervous about having gotten the flu shot and tdap yesterday during my 28 week appointment. My arms are itchy and swollen around the injection sites and my mother is very anti vaccine because of my brothers autism but my ped and OB both have been pretty good at calming some of the fears I’ve been having from my mom.

    Most of the research surrounding vaccines and autism have been disproven but even if there is some kind of link I’d rather take my chances with autism than maybe burying one of my kids.

    • AugustW

      My daughter has PDD NOS, or atypical autism, and I’ve had family come out of the woodwork since her diagnosis because they know I’m pro vax. I just keep telling them “I will take her autistic rather then dead anyday”.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    Vaccines work so well that some people are deluded into thinking they’re not necessary.
    I vaccinate my baby against everything. Like, everything. And I started getting more vigilant about my own boosters. I’m not getting the damn flu. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • Momma425

      I completely agree! Vaccines are one of the best ways to protect your child’s health. All of the vigilant hand washing, and eating oranges in the whole world is not going to prevent your child from sticking something in their mouth that was in some other little kid’s mouth earlier, or stop another child from NOT covering their mouth when they sneeze in your child’s face, etc…
      The flu shot doesn’t cause people to get the flu. It’s not a live virus. You can still get the flu- sometimes it is not effective, sometimes people get another strain, sometimes people get the flu because they were exposed just before/just after the shot and it isn’t effective yet. But nobody is out anything by getting the flu shot (unless their doctor advises otherwise). There are VERY FEW at our clinic that the doctors do not advise flu shots for.
      Yay for western medicine and vaccinations!!

  • amanda

    I think its a decision you need to make individually and with the help of your dr. Especially a vaccine like a flu shot. Because while the flu can be very serious and life threatening, it also isnt a large amount of the time. I was all for every shot under the son until my oldest son had a life threatening reaction to a vaccine. (He has to be rushed by ambulance to our nearest pediatric hospital which thankfully was only a few miles down the road. We spent several days in the hospital, two in the PICU.) While I realize that his reaction was rare, it has made me extremely vigilant and cautious about vaccines with my younger children. We do them at a much slower, more spaced out schedule and yes, we skip ones like the flu shot. Given our family history, we’ve decided the risk of getting the flu does not outweigh the risks of more shots. (And FTR we did all get the flu last winter, for the first time ever – it sucked but it was not serious.) Its a choice you can, and SHOULD make on an individual basis, with the consultation of your own physician.

    • darras

      I have the same vaccine problem as your son so I get this totally! I have to take all the ‘big’ vaccines in hospital and wait around for three hours minimum afterwards to be sure. So I avoid flu vaccines too because my Doctor and I decided it wasn’t worth the risks. Having said that, my husband is extra vigilant that he gets the flu shots so that he stands less chance of catching flu and bringing it home to me and our son. There are ways and means :) All the best for your son and his future with vaccines! It can be tough.

  • Alicia Kiner

    My kids get vaccinated every year, I usually get one. I haven’t this year because I had surgery in November and my doctor recommended waiting. I’ll talk to him about it next week. My husband refuses to get the shot, saying the only time he gets sick is when he gets the shot. I’ve tried convincing him, but he’s stubborn.

  • helloshannon

    i got H1N1 in 2009 when it first appeared and i never ever ever ever want that shit again. shoot me up

  • arrow2010

    I refuse to take the flu shot.

  • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

    Even aside from the general anti-vax stuff, I feel like part of the problem is that colloquially, folks have taken to call many things that are not influenza “the flu”. Many, many people seem to be under the impression that “the flu” is just a really bad cold, or the symptoms of a stomach/intestinal virus. People think the flu is just a really unpleasant thing, and so assume that the flu shots are just people over-vaccinating/over-medicating.

    Even as one who has chronic respiratory issues, and is thus “high risk”, I was one of these folks … until I got the _actual_ flu and it ate a month of my life. Actual influenza is some serious shit. I’ve not missed a flu shot since, because I never want to go through that again.

  • Rachel

    Okay, please help clear up my ignorance… I am aware that Google exists, but I’d like general rebuttals to my previously held opinions before scurrying off to look things up, as I’m sick right now and feeling lazy.

    I skipped getting the flu mist every chance I got because in my experience, it was a guaranteed way of getting the flu. It’s not just my immune system that’s wonky, either, because the other soldiers I worked with also dreaded it for the same reasons.

    I was under the impression that the annual flu vaccine protects against the most popular flu strain of the year. Since it invariably made me sick, I viewed getting it as a poor risk/benefit decision, as the years when I did not take it I had a very good chance of not getting sick at all vs. definitely getting sick.

    None of the medics I’ve complained about this to ever refuted it, nor have any of the civilian medical personnel, but from this article I am to understand that it protects against several strains?

    My toddler got his annual flu shot (which they warned us was a live virus), and both he and I got sick. Since I am pregnant, the illness is actually only clearing up after the second week (his thankfully lasted only a few days). I have not gotten the vaccine yet, even though it’s recommended, for the aforementioned reasons.

    Thoughts? Please don’t be a jerk, and yes, I will google these things later.

    • D

      Most flu shots are trivalent, meaning it protects against three strains of the flu. The flu mist is quadrivalent, meaning it protects against four strains of the flu. The vaccine manufacturers try their best to predict which strains of flu are going to be most prevalent every year, but since they have to predict several months in advance of each flu season, its possible that they aren’t always accurate (I’ve heard last year’s flu shot was particularly inaccurate).

      Maybe look into getting an inactive version of the vaccine, since you seem to get sick from the attenuated version. You may already know this, but it is a common misconception, you cannot get the flu from an inactive vaccine. If you feel sick shortly after receiving the vaccine, either:
      A) This is your body’s normal immune response to the vaccine (fever, malaise, etc). While you may still feel crappy, it is not the flu, it will probably last much shorter than if you had the flu (a few days), and you are not actively spreading the flu virus, so you cannot get others sick.
      B) It takes around 2 weeks for the vaccine to take effect, so you either had the flu virus before you got your vaccine, or picked it up between getting the vaccine and it producing immunity

      Of course, vaccines aren’t perfect either, as everyone’s immune system differs.. I like to equate it to producing one size of jeans to fit everyone in the world. The jeans will probably fit a large amount of the population, but for many others it won’t fit that well or at all. You could still pick up the flu virus and get sick from it even if you were vaccinated, but it’ll likely be much less serious than if you hadn’t been vaccinated. You could also be unlucky and pick up a strain that wasn’t covered in this year’s vaccine.

    • Lindsey

      Flu vaccines are traditionally trivalent, which means that they protect against three strains of flu. This year, some vaccines protect against 4 types of flu. The strains are the ones that are chosen were circulating elsewhere in the world, which tends to mean that they will then occur here.

      You cannot get sick from the vaccine, no matter its form. It does take about 2 weeks to develop enough antibodies to work. So, if you got sick when you got the vaccine, you were either already sick or got exposed to the flu in a different way. No matter what, it was not the vaccine. It is best to get the vaccine as soon as they start to offer it, so that you do not get sick with the flu, from other infected individuals.

  • Spiritart

    So, they never report how many of the flu victims actually did or didn’t previously get vaccinated. Every wonder why?

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  • gammachris

    I almost died several years ago from pneumonia that developed after having swine flu ( there wasn’t yet a vaccine. ) I was in the hospital for almost a week, and it took more than 2 months before I felt halfway human. For several years afterwards, I often had asthma-like symptoms with minimal exertion that required inhalers and forced me to curtail my activities. I was in my early 40′s, with no risk factors. I think anybody who can get a flu shot and doesn’t is a damn fool.