Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My H1N1 shot

Like most pregnant women I was extremely hesitant to get the H1N1 shot. I don't care how much literature and studies are out there about the effectiveness of the vaccine. Bottom line there are no completed studies on the perinatal outcomes of H1N1 vaccinated women. However studies do show that pregnant women who get vaccinated for the normal flu strain have less likelihood of getting the flu and ultimately so will their unborn child. It makes sense to go with the majority on statistics. So while I had my reservations I did extensive research and asked lots of questions. Ultimately I feel confident in my decision.

Like the flu shot, I wanted to make sure I was getting a thimerosal, preservative and mercury free dose of the H1N1. While the levels of such substances are low you never can be safe enough. I called my OB ahead of time to make sure they had some of the single dose preservative free vaccines. I was told I would just have to ask for it once I arrived. If only it was that easy. Apparently, well at least in VT, there is a shortage of the preservative free doses. While I was told on the phone there was plenty in stock it sure didn't appear that way when I asked. The nurse, whom I don't routinely see, told me they were holding those doses for women at a high risk or those who were allergic to the other doses. Hello!! Read my chart! I am high risk and um yeah, how do I know my unborn child isn't allergic? Aren't pregnant women and children deemed those most at risk for H1N1 to begin with thus identifying them as high risk? yeah nice try. Despite her efforts in telling me someone misinformed me, I stuck to my guns and very nicely said "either you give me the preservative free version or I will find someone who will." I also told her to go find my doctor for clearance, 5 minutes later I was given what I wanted with a sore arm to boot.

I wanted to tell this story because I get the impression, that while they may be low on these doses, they aren't expecting pregnant women to ask for them and frankly they don't want you too. Money, mass production and productivity all come into play instead. Be sure to educate yourself and be adamant about what you want. If I have learned one thing so far from being pregnant it is to listen to instincts, your body and remember you are the voice for your unborn child.

It all worked out in the end but it left me wondering how many other women who have no idea of this potentially safer version of the H1N1 vaccine are out there. Push for it or go somewhere else. Anyone have a similar story? for or against the vaccine? I don't need horror stories but am interested in others experience or opinion.


  1. Thanks for posting this info! I'm wanting to get the H1N1 shot but it isn't available at my clinic yet. Now I'll know to make sure I ask for the preservative-free, single-dose version.

  2. I searched around for the preservative free "regular" flu shot but my OB only had the regular H1N1. I decided to get it anyhow because while there is a risk from the preservatives, I think the risk of H1N1 is higher. They assured me it was ok, but like you I would have prefered the single dose.