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H1N1: Fighting for the Vaccine.

The one needle I can stand. :)Last week, I toddled my pregnant self up to the Joslin Clinic for my endocrinologist appointment and an ultrasound with my OB/Gyn.  And as excited as I was about the ultrasound and the opportunity for Chris and I to see our baby kicking around in there (more on that later), I was just as excited about the H1N1 vaccine.

I know. 

I can't believe I'm saying that, either.  Yes, this is the same Kerri who wrote about feeling "eh" about the flu shot a few weeks ago.  But a few things have come to light in the last couple weeks that have changed my outlook on things.

Like the fact that the Joslin Clinic has been riding me about getting this shot because of my high-risk situation, being both type 1 and pregnant.   

Or the fact that every healthcare professional I spoke with at last week's ePatient conference kept asking me, "You are getting the H1N1, right?" and the look of concern when I said, "I haven't received mine, yet."

Or the very scary fact that pregnant women, regardless of any chronic illness, are singled out as one of the highest risk groups out there.  

I'm not one to leap without looking.  But I'm also not one to put my baby at risk if I can help it, so when Joslin said there was an H1N1 vaccine available to me, I jumped at the chance to get it.  Seems like this vaccine, for some completely ridiculous reason, is not being made readily available to people who need or want it, so if there was one available to me, I was taking it.

It was unnerving, knowing they were injecting me with a virus.  A dead one, of course, but still, with all the information circulating out there about the pros and cons of the H1N1 vircus, it's hard to know what's true and what's just speculation.  Or, unfortunately, what's purely fabrication.  In any event, when I heard about a little girl in my home state who, at the age of 12 had being diagnosed with H1N1 and then died from it just a few days later, it was enough to scare me into rapid and determined action.

But even at the Joslin Clinic, I had to jump through a few hoops in order to be viewed as "eligible."  

"No, I'm sorry.  That vaccine is only for patients who are 24 weeks pregnant and up."

"Really?"  I said, my hands against the counter.  "I was told that being 14 weeks and also having type 1 diabetes made me a shoe-in for this vaccine.  It's like my prize for being the in double risk pool.  So there isn't one for me?"

She checked her chart again.  "Type 1?  14 weeks?  Okay, you can have a seat over there and we'll call you in for your injection in just a few minutes."

It felt so odd, fighting for something I wasn't even sure I wanted in the first place.  But I kept thinking about the pregnant women I'd heard about on the news who had died from H1N1.  And then I thought about all the public transit I'd taken in the last few weeks, and my upcoming travel plans for this week.  Did I want to take the chance?

If it was just me, I may have.  I may have waited or put off the shot or taken my chances.  But I'm responsible for this baby.  And when we heard the heartbeat, loud and strong, and saw him (or her) kicking around in there, I knew that I needed to do whatever it took to take the best care possible of my child.  

So they shot me up with the H1N1 vaccine.  Oddly enough, I felt grateful.

And that night, I promptly felt ill and slept for about 15 hours straight, waking only to test, snack, and drink water.   I wasn't experiencing any full-fledged sickness, but the weather was above me enough that I hid out all weekend long, missing any Halloween festivities and instead camping out at home with hot tea, chicken soup, and Kleenex.

Today?  Feeling much better and on my way to speak at a seminar in New Jersey.  But I keep hearing about others who are seeking out the H1N1 and still haven't been able to gain access to a vaccination.  What does it take to get protection when you need it?  How are there H1N1 clinics in some states but not in others?  Are you someone who is trying to get this vaccine but can't?  Or are you avoiding this shot, and why? 

I've already jumped, so my opinion is moot on this one.  I'm pregnant, my doctors told me this was best, and I (for once) listened.  But this issue is getting bigger and bigger, and with diabetes month just getting started here, I want to know how the diabetes community at large feels about this H1N1 vaccine.  

Comments

I feel very fortunate (for once!) that I live in a country where H1N1 is not a problem, with less than a handful of confirmed reports. We're trying our best to avoid anyone who's flown in from the U.S. or U.K., though, because I have severe doubts as to whether the vaccine is even available here. Were we in the states, though, you betcha I'd be scrambling to get it for my D-daughter.

I'm not getting it, as I posted over at DD yesterday. I'm not in the high risk groups determined in Colorado (pregnant women, children under 18, healthcare workers) and there's a shortage anyways. Only 30% of the intended Colorado vaccine allotment is here. I'd rather those who have more serious chronic disease get it, and the high risk groups get it before I do.

It makes me sick that people are faking pregnancy and chronic illness to get it. Or that there are ridiculous lines, 2-3 hours for it. How about the germs going around in those lines?

I'm glad you got it, though. :) I just don't want to jump through hoops if I'm relatively healthy, you know?

I am looking for it for my 17 year old daughter with type 1 and asthma. Our local clinics either don't have it or are only giving it to children under 5 and pregnant women - regardless. We go to Yale today for a scheduled endo check-up. Mayve they have an answer for us.

Our 4 boys were lucky to get it. Two got it on Wed. and the other 2 I brought on Thurs. Thurs they said the only had nasal mist, and my diabetic boys could not get it. I begged them to double check, some doctors think they can. I asked her to go back and speak to the doctor. (2 getting h1n1 shots, and the other 2 not...is just too much for a mother to take. It's like saying, 'I like having you 2 around best.') The nurse came back, and turns out they had 4 shots left, hiding...just for a case like ours. PHEW!

My hubby and I have different insurance...we probably won't be able to find or get it. :(

My 3 daughters got it...the oldest T1. I thought I was set against it...it was a very black and white issue for me.

But then a dear friend fell terribly ill and is now fighting for her life -- literally. She's on the verge of death...and she turned this issue gray. She bacame sick with H1N1 and developed pneumonia. Her name is Holli...if there is anyone out there who believes in prayer, please check out my blog for her story and SAY A PRAYER!

So, we did it.

And I'm glad we did!

We've had the flu in our office for weeks now suffering 30% outage at some points. I've still not gotten it. I'm either lucky or immune. Still, if the vaccine becomes available to me, I'll take it. I don't feel anymore at risk being Type I, but I'm not going to argue with somthing that has the potential to kill me. I've gotten pretty good at taking doctor's advice lately. Im the meantime, it's fist bumps and hand sanitizer till I'm protected.

Aleksi is in risk group 3 here in Finland and is due his vaccination next week. His asthma concerns me almost more than his diabetes - if feel we can get to grips with haywire blood sugar, but not sick lungs. My daughter, with luck, should be vaccinated the end of this month and if there is any left hubby and I may get a look in! They would like to vaccinate the whole population here (5.3 million) - we shall see!

I'm definitely getting the vaccine, but I'm waiting until my doctor gets it because I don't want to stand in line, in the rain, for an entire day when there's not even a certainty I'll get the shot. My asthma would likely be triggered by standing out in the wet weather all day, and then I'll start to cough, and then I'll be lynched by the other people in the lineup for coughing.

I'll get it once it's available. I don't feel particularly more at risk due to T1. My main reason for getting it is because I work in a health care setting. If my coworker and I were to get sick at the same time, there would not be anyone who could cover for us. I'll get it when it's available for health care workers.

I have type 1 and usually get the regular flu shot which will also lessen my chances of getting H1N1. I also would not get the swine flu shot since it is untested and was rushed through processing. It may be safe but why the legislation to protect those who manufacture it? No thanks.Besides I thought the regular flu had more deaths than swine flu?

When I visited my soon-to-be-former general practitioner last week, he very nonchalantly offered it to me. "We just got it in today," he said. Of course, I said yes; but I was surprised how easy it was for me to get given all of the trouble other PWD have had finding/getting it.

Ironically, when I got the nasal vaccine today, I was asked a couple questions that made it sound like most of his patients wouldn't even be eligible to receive it. "Are you under 53 years old?"

I have no idea how they decide to distribute the vaccine to healthcare professionals, but it doesn't seem very consistent.

They are giving it to grade school kids in our community (w/ parent permission). They opened the clinic for preschool aged children (6 month to 5 years) and we took our two-year-old. I called the next day and they said I could bring my daughter b/c she is 5, even though she's already in kindergarten. Both of my children got the injection, not the mist. Though the majority of the children at the clinic were getting the mist. My diabetic daughter could not receive the mist, only the injection. When at the clinic, they offered it to me because they were vaccinating caretakers of high risk young children.

She was already sick once this fall and they gave her Tamiflu. Whatever she had did a number on her BG's and gave her ketones. I'm not afraid of the flu, but the effects it has on her diabetes.

We actually weren't going to get it for Tristan because of all the different talk. After speaking with his endocrinologist, we decided that it was best if we got it for him. We were waiting, in no big rush to get it. Until on Friday we heard of 2 school district, in the next town, being closed due to the H1N1. We figured it was time to get him vaccinated. Called his pediatrician.... they don't have any vaccines! They were suppose to get it that week but then had just found out that it would be a few weeks before they can get it. Its sucks!

This must be the most sought after vaccine. I called my 3 main doctors (pulmonologist for astham, endo for diabetes and primary care) and none of them have the vaccine. Nor do any of them expect to get any vaccine. So I've got two things that would mark me as high risk and no chance, as of now, for getting the vaccine.

I'm not getting it because I already got swine flu. The swine flu vaccine wasn't ready when I got my seasonal flu vaccine.

I spent most of last week in bed, and a few really unpleasant hours vomiting and then playing the "I already bolused but vomited up the food" game.

Haven't gotten mine yet. For one, it's not readily available to us, and two I'm not waiting with my kids out in the cold for 3+ hours just to have a 10% chance to get one of the 2,000 vaccines a clinic may get in. Until they make it a more organized process out here, I won't be getting it. I'm also worried about some of the ingredients in the shot and the fact that it hasn't been well tested. I'll see how the first round goes.

I stopped by my local Walgreens to get the vaccine last week. I told the nurse I had T1 diabetes, filled out the forms, etc., and she STILL gave me the nasal mist.

It wasn't until I got home and did some research that I realized I wasn't supposed to get that kind.

In any case, a week later, I'm still alive, and I'm glad I did it.

The vaccination against H1N1 seems as safe as vaccination for seasonal influenza and is recommended to be done. The Brazil faced swine flu with many deaths, especially in the south, one of the richest and resources of the country. The most affected age group was young adults and the deaths were related to people with chronic diseases and other complicating factors. So, the vaccine that proved effective to immunize within the first dose should be made, as noted by the recommendation of the CDC (Center Disease Control).
For those who do not have the chance or opportunity to be vaccinated, What is the treatment of choice for pregnant women with suspected or confirmed 2009 H1N1 infection?
Oseltamivir and zanamivir are "Pregnancy Category C" medications, indicating that no clinical studies have been conducted to assess the safety of these medications for pregnant women. Pregnancy should not be considered a contraindication to oseltamivir or zanamivir use. Because of its systemic activity, oseltamivir is preferred for treatment of pregnant women.
I hope the information has been helpful to all diabetic women and pregnant women. Medicines should always be prescribed by your own doctor and any medication should be used under the supervision of a physician.
A great day for all
Mauro Scharf, From Brazil

My daughter has Type 1 and is 4. Her pediatrician is not getting the vaccine -- whether they opted not to get it or what the case may be, I'm unsure.

Her ped endo is not sure if they will get it, which is baffling to me. I understand not knowing WHEN you will get it, but how do you not know if you will be getting it, especially being the doctors of a high risk group?

I've called our town and "they have not announced their clinics yet." I was unable to get an answer to even if the clinic was by appointment or first come/first serve. Even after explaining my child (already a high risk for being a child) had type 1.

I'm completely irritated by the hoops I have gone through to find out information or lack thereof. Both of my children have received their seasonal flu shots and I would like them to get the H1N1, but who know when it will come around.

Been trying for 3-4 weeks now to get the vaccine for my 7 year old Type 1 kiddo. To no avail. I live 3 miles outside of Philly, 5th largest city in the US and NO ONE can tell me where to get in, when they might get it or if they will get it. Frustrating to say the least.

And I am starting not to like people who know that my daughter is Type 1, telling me that she is a high risk candidate for H1N1 and did I get her vaccinated yet? Hello?! I am trying, if someone around this you-know-what state and city would have one, we would be there!

Glad you got your Kerri, glad someone was able to get it!

i got my h1n1 shot a little less than 2 weeks ago - i'm a nurse in an elementary school and i'm terrified of all the germs that get passed around here. i got my seasonal flu shot back in sept, as soon it was available...the h1n1 is really hard to get here, so i feel very thankful that i was able to get it - i got it at the local public health clinic, since most doctors' offices aren't getting it...they were very strict at the clinic, only offering it to healthcare workers and kids - even requiring ID to prove that i am indeed a nurse...i was eager to get it just because i'm type 1 and a nurse working with kids - if i'd be pregnant i would have been even more eager to get it (if that's possible lol)...

Kerri-

I thought about it but Im going to say no. I'm praying Niya and I will be ok. It's still too new.

I hope to get the shot.. At the moment I seem to be having so many vaccinations (having my second HPV vaccination tomorrow, and had my seasonal flu shot two weeks ago, two weeks after my first HPV vaccination..)and they don't like to give too many too close together, apparently, so I'm not sure how long to wait. H1N1 is rampant over here, though, and I do NOT want it!

Met my new Endocrinologist last week, and she insisted. I was glad to get it, and haven't as much as sniffled since.

They are not allowed to retain vials that they haven't used past a certain date, so they have started pre-filling syringes and labeling them with client's names for high risk patients who haven't been able to come in yet as a creative way to reserve vaccines.

I had it on Saturday. I just went in to get my seasonal flu jab, and they asked me if I wanted it then as well, so I did. Mostly out of the laziness of not wanting to go back a second time. I know it's a new vaccine, but I'm confident that, like all other vaccines, it is safe. I'm not meaning to dismiss anyone else's view points on the matter, but I've yet to be convinced on any other stance on the matter.

I skipped it. I expect to be told to get it, but I'm more stubborn than they are insistent, so I'll rely on my natural immunity. I figure if my own beta cells aren't safe from my immune system, then H1N1 will be in for a world of hurtin' if they try to get me.

My niece who was not in any high risk group has been on a ventilator in the ICU for three weeks with this flu. We still are not sure she is going to pull through. We'd all line up to get the shot if it were available, but it's not. I'm really glad that you were able to get your shot.

I want to get it, but it is not available here yet. We recieved an e-mail at work today saying it is mandatory for all healthcare workers, however our hospital has not got it's supply yet.

I'm T2 and very prone to upper respiratory infections so I'm supposed to get the H1N1 vaccine. But my North Dakota city of 55K+ has only received 200 doses of the vaccine, most of which went to health care workers and Head Start students. I got my seasonal flu vac the first day it was available through our public health department--my clinic still hasn't received that either. Meanwhile, there's enough people that are very sick here with H1N1 that the hospital is turning people away because they don't have the beds & the workers to care for them.

Not getting it....my endo who is ighly regarded told me that unless I worked with kids or in a campus setting it wasn't necessary. In terms of both the flu shot and hini shot he feels that unless your diabeties isn't under optimul control your risk is no more increased than the general population...

I have Type 1 diabetes,lymphoma and have a 6 month old. He cannot get it because the peds office only has mist for ages 2 and up. They have no idea when they will get the shots.
I called my PCP, the RI Dept of Health, Dana Farber and Joslin Diabetes Center (can only get if pregnant at Joslin). Nobody has it. My 2 elementary school aged stepchildren who live with us will get it next Friday (Friday the 13th). I am praying that they don't come down with it and bring it home to me and baby before they can get the vaccine. I have never been more panicked in my life. I am most worried about my 6 month old, who is also a preemie, born 8 weeks early.

I've been offered it twice. I actually can't get it though because I'm allergic, BUT I wouldn't regardless. I just can't get over the fact that the last swine flu vaccine killed MORE people than the actual flu and caused many people to get guillain barre.

I hope that it is safe and it does work for all those who choose to get it. I know for many this flu has been deadly.

There really is a mass of conflicting info out there on this one, I'm VERY firmly in the no camp.

Please read the below, which is reasonably credible/ balanced re: both the nature of what it means for diabetics/ pregnant women to be 'at higher risk' and the mass of data mis-presentation out there:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/03/What-We-Have-Learned-About-the-Great-Swine-Flu-Pandemic.aspx

I wasn't going to get it, but then rethought my decision. I got the mist and so did my 5 year old. I'm having a tough time finding it for my under 2 year old, but I'm hoping to get him inoculated as well. We all got the seasonal vaccine in the beginning of september, so I hope we don't get sick this flu season!

I called Joslin (yes, the one in Boston...not a side clinic one...) to ask if they would be able to do it for my son on Thursday, and they said they are not giving it out! This post has me seething about Joslin for the first time ever!

i havent had the h1n1 vaccine yet either...and I will be asking when i go for my seasonal flu jab on saturday morning...i thought letters were supposed to be sent out for people in the high risk category??? Obviously not htough

Seriously?

UGH! Do you know how the media is blowing it all out of proportion? Yes people have died of H1N1. SO?!!?!?!?! Yes sorry for those people but they could have died from regular flu later anyhow. 36,000 Americans DIE of the seasonal flu every year. Go check out how many have died of H1N1.. go on, I'll wait!

SEE?!?! Why is everyone so damn scared?!

A vaccine that contains mercury and squalene.. no thank you!!! I live in Holland now btw and 2/3 of medical personnel are refusing the vaccine. Makes you go hmmmmm.....

I wanted to add more to my previous comment.

To everyone reading.. the BEST defense you have against ALL viruses is to make sure you get enough VITAMIN D. Most everyone is deficient in it and a lot of H1N1 deaths have been linked to not enough Vitamin D!!!

I was at joslin on Thursday and my doctor said they didn't have the H1N1 vaccine and to check with my pcp. Hmmm...

Recived my h1n1 injection two days ago. Wow major headeach, and every bone in my body hurts. Feel very ill and it is not letting up yet. Age 39. Daughters recived it and the appear fine. But have two friends in the same shape as me. Bad side effects for some. Sure hope day three I can go back to work.

I've had every vaccine you can think of.

After seeing two diabetics in my age group die in the last two week, I decided I needed one. Endo even said, get it if I can, he didn't have any.

So, we have a flu shot clinic around the corner who was giving shots for $20.00, no questions asked.

Snagged one Monday.

I had the swine flu vaccine back in the 70's and was never so sick in my whole life. I will not be getting the new vaccine, as I can still remember how sick I was. I know a lot of people that get this virus also develop pneumonia, and I had the pneumonia vaccine this year, so I feel partially covered.

I got the H1N1 flu shot just to be safe. On top of having Type 1, I also have an IGA deficiency: part of my immune system does not work very well. I'm glad you and BSparl were protected!

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