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Pro: Don't take chances with deadly flu strain

By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
Sept. 20, 2009 at 4:20 a.m.


April Roberts already has placed her four children on a waiting list for the H1N1 vaccine.

The 27-year-old Port Lavaca resident has weighed the pros and cons of signing up for the vaccine and decided she wants to play it safe, she said.

Roberts has an appointment for her 2, 6, 11 and 13-year-old on Oct. 1, she said.

"I don't want my kids to end up in the hospital over the swine flu," she said.

The first confirmed H1N1 case at Calhoun High School recently and rumors of other cases have sparked her to think about her children's safety, she said.

Roberts makes sure her children wash their hands, follow proper hygiene procedures and use the hand sanitizer she packs away in their backpacks, she said.

Even though she's signed up for the vaccine, Roberts said she is going to make sure to ask the doctor any questions she may have about the one-dose vaccine.

On top of her list are worries of the new vaccine having harmful side effects because it is a new vaccine, she said.

Still, she would rather play it safe, she said.

"I'm very nervous because there is always cons on everything," she said.

Roberts has not signed up for the vaccine for herself, but wants to be sure her youngest children receive the vaccine first because their immune systems are weaker, she said.

The virus has proven to be more prevalent and deadly in children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

Jean Gisler, a Victoria family nurse practitioner, said she understands the worries parents like Roberts face with any new vaccine.

Regardless, Gisler has seen a large number of patients interested in receiving the vaccine.

"I'm recommending to my family and my patients that they do receive it when it becomes available," she said.

The vaccine is scheduled to be available sometime in October.

The more people who are vaccinated, the lower the number of H1N1 cases will be seen because it's less circulated in the population, she said.

"You have to weigh the pros and cons of any vaccine," she said.

A common misconception people have is that taking the seasonal flu vaccine gives you the flu, she said.

The seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 vaccine have an inactivated killed virus and may cause side effects, like fever and body aches, which is similar to a weakened flu virus.

The regular seasonal flu vaccine will not prevent H1N1, she said.

Both shots are required because both viruses are different strains, she said.

"You can take your chances and hopefully not get the flu, or you can take the immunization and be much more assured you won't get the flu," Gisler said.

For Roberts, even after their seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations, her children will still carry their bottles of hand sanitizer.

"I'm being very cautious," she said.

Related: Con: Fear holds some back from getting new shot

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