My H1N1 Vaccine Questions Answered

by Leighann on November 23, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I shared why we vaccinated our children against both the seasonal flu and H1N1.

I can say that now both of us parents have gotten our vaccinations and the children have gotten both doses.

The two kids and I received the injection and my husband got the injection for seasonal flu, but the flu mist for H1N1. None of us have suffered any side effects other than sore arms.

I know that in parts of the country flu shots are difficult to come by, but our local public health department seems to have a surplus and has begun inoculating beyond the high risk groups. Maybe supplies are finally being distributed.

I participated in a conference call a few weeks ago with CDC pediatrician Dr. Georgina Peacock to learn more about H1N1 and the vaccine. I asked several questions about why people with diabetes, who are considered “high risk,” should receive the H1N1 vaccine.

Here are the answers in written format from the Children’s Health Desk:

1. My child is diabetic. What are the complications that a diabetic person might have from contracting the flu (seasonal or H1N1)?

Influenza can be especially dangerous for adults and children with diabetes, who are more likely to get very sick and even die with influenza infection.

  • People with diabetes are six times more likely to be hospitalized with influenza complications and almost three times more likely to die from influenza.
  • Over 10 percent of deaths related to influenza and pneumonia are attributed to diabetes
  • Influenza can interfere with efforts to control blood sugar levels, putting those with diabetes at increased risk of high or low blood sugar, and those with type 1 diabetes, in particular, at an increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, a medical emergency.

2. Why do people with compromised immune systems need the injection rather than the mist?

The nasal mist is a live virus and people with diabetes may have alterations in their white blood cell function so should get the injection.

3. What would you tell parents of diabetic children who are on the fence about getting the vaccine?

The influenza vaccine is safe and effective. Influenza vaccination is the most effective intervention for reducing the impact of influenza. Studies have shown vaccine effectiveness in people ages 1-15 years is 44-80%

CDC resources about the flu:

More CDC resources for people with diabetes or other health conditions:

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