I got a package in the mail today: My very own (complimentary) copy of Paul Offit’s new book, “Deadly Choices; How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All.” Needless to say, I can’t wait to read it. Not coincidentally, Dr. Offit has been making the rounds of interviews in the wake of the book’s release. Although I haven’t heard any of them directly, I did see a reference to this NPR interview on the FaceBook page of an old friend, who quoted from it thusly:
IRA FLATOW: You write that some pediatricians will not see kids who are not vaccinated. Is that a good solution to the problem?
DR. PAUL OFFIT: I don’t know what’s a good solution to that problem. And I feel tremendous sympathy for the clinician who’s in private practice. On the one hand, and my wife sort of expressed this, she’s a general practitioner, a pediatrician, you know, she’ll say, you know, parents will come into her office and say I don’t want to get vaccines, including, for example, the Haemophilus influenzae vaccine, which is vaccine that prevents what was, at one point, a very common cause of bacterial meningitis.
And, you know, we’ve had three cases or three deaths, actually, from this particular bacterial form of meningitis in the Philadelphia area just in the last couple years.
And, you know, to her, it’s like, you know, let me love your child. Please don’t put me in a position where I have to practice substandard care, which can result in harm, which can hurt your child. Please don’t ask me to do that.
And I certainly understand the sentiment. On the other hand, if you don’t see that child, you know, where does that child go? Do they go to a chiropractor who doesn’t vaccinate?
I think it’s hard because then you lose any chance to really immunize the child.
My friend then offers his take, that of a pediatrician in private practice. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*
It’s that time of year again. Children back at school. Football season is underway and baseball playoffs to start soon. The television networks are rolling out their new shows.
And it’s also time to think about getting flu shots. I just got mine today as I have done annually since going to medical school.
Compared to last year, there isn’t as much news about the flu or the flu vaccine. This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives clear guidelines that everyone aged 6 months and older should get the influenza vaccine.
This month the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all healthcare providers should be required to get the influenza vaccine.
And one fact that hasn’t gotten much attention is whether the 2009 H1N1 virus is included in the 2010-2011 vaccine: Is it? Yes, it is. This year’s vaccine will be as safe as vaccines in past years as the production process is unchanged. Inclusion of the 2009 H1N1 virus will not be a problem. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*
To inject or not to inject, that is the question
Last week I took my wife and children for our yearly family flu vaccination. The one Elysa used to call her ‘flea shot.’ Lord knows we’ve had enough fleas; if that would work, I’d consider it. But I digress.
The same day, I went to work and found that the employee health/infection control folks were offering H1N1 vaccines. I was told that as long as I took it in the opposite arm, I could go ahead and have mine. So, possessor of two punctured arms, I went back to work and felt fine. In fact, that was four days ago and I still feel fine. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*
Election anxiety has America on the edge of its seat. I anticipated long lines and a lot of drama, so I voted early to avoid the rush. That left me with nothing election-related to do today, so I decided to head over to my local pharmacy and get a flu shot instead.
Last year the flu vaccine was only 50% effective because experts did not correctly predict which viral strains would victimize Americans. This year I have my fingers crossed that the Brisbane and Florida strains included in the vaccine will do the trick. After all, Influenza is the single leading cause of vaccine-preventable disease in the U.S., with estimates between 15 million and 60 million cases in the US a year among all age groups. Influenza leads to 200,000 hospitalizations and about 36,000 deaths a year in the U.S., mostly in infants and the elderly. I’ll never forget the touching story of how one family lost their three and-a-half year-old daughter to the flu.
So I arrived at the pharmacy only to find a disorderly group of flu-shot seekers, pacing near the entrance to the retail clinic. About 20 minutes later a young woman with a clipboard and sign up sheets came out and started asking people what kind of insurance they had. When my turn came she informed me that my insurance plan was not participating, and suggested that I leave. I asked if I could pay out-of-pocket for the shot and she said that I could and gave me a consent form. More people arrived without any movement in the line, and I overheard one person commenting that the nearby polling booth wasn’t moving as slowly. Another customer decided to leave to go vote and then come back later for the shot.
Forty minutes later my name was called and I entered a small room littered with papers and syringe caps. I rolled up my right sleeve and asked the technician about his injection technique. I watched him carefully draw up half a cc of vaccine from a multiple-use bottle.
He then asked me how I was going to pay. I presented my credit card and he said that he only accepted cash or check. I said that I had no idea that credit cards weren’t accepted and he seemed surprised that I wasn’t aware of the retail clinic policy. A large envelope was leaning against his chair leg, full of $30 cash deposits for the shot. Read more »