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Some parents skeptical of H1N1 vaccine

October 13, 2009 8:47:42 PM PDT
Health officials have talked about the importance of as many people as possible getting vaccinated for H1N1. But many people are not convinced it's the right choice for them or their children.Ask just about any pediatrician and to them there is no debate here. They say the new H1N1 flu vaccine is safe, effective, and should be given to most children. But recent polls show a significant number of parents are more than skeptical about this vaccine and many others and believe alternative medicine can be the answer.

Yasmeen Beg says she's gone back and forth on the decision, but has made up her mind and will make sure her son gets the H1N1 flu vaccine.

"The risk of your child getting something really bad by not being vaccinated I think outweighs the benefit of not giving them the vaccine," said Beg.

But Mina Nakano made the opposite decision. Her son will not be vaccinated.

"As we keep ourselves healthy, chances of beating it is pretty well," said Nakano.

A recent Associated Press poll found that 38 percent of parents say they are unlikely to have their children vaccinated for H1N1, many citing concerns over possible side effects from the vaccine.

"I think it would not be a good idea to wait. This vaccine has really been tested much more than seasonal influenza vaccines are tested on a yearly basis," said Dr. Tina Tan, infectious disease specialist, Children's Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Tan says for most parents it should be an easy decision; get the vaccine, especially since most of the deaths nationwide have been among children. Eighty one children have died since April.

As for concerns about the vaccine's safety?

"I don't think there's anything more risky or dangerous about it than any other vaccine that someone could get," said Dr. Tan.

"Just as safe as prior vaccines isn't necessarily so safe," said chiropractic doctor Richard Ezgur.

Ezgur also practices homeopathic medicine. He says there shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all answer for all pediatric patients. And he's concerned about possible side effects and whether the vaccine actually works.

"We know that there are side effects and adverse reactions even to the flu shot that's been given year after year," said Ezgur.

Ezgur advises his patients to use a homeopathic remedy which he says is a safer alternative. However, Dr. Tan isn't convinced. She says the new vaccine is specifically targeted to the H1N1 virus. She says the smartest thing parents can do is make sure their children get it.


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