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'No Flu Shots for My Kids'
Date:10/9/2009

Some moms aren't convinced vaccines are necessary, safe or effective

FRIDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Margaret Park, a mother of five, isn't having her kids vaccinated against seasonal influenza or H1N1 swine flu this year.

Park, a registered dietitian from Manassas Park, Va., is fighting the flu on her own terms -- by making sure that her children eat well, wash their hands frequently, get plenty of sleep and take their "gummies," a multivitamin and a supplement containing vitamin C, zinc and echinacea.

Although public health officials recommend seasonal flu vaccines even for healthy kids, Park doesn't see how her clan, aged 3 to 11, would benefit.

"I'm not convinced that getting it is going to keep you from getting the flu," the 35-year-old explained, noting flu shots don't protect against every possible strain of influenza.

She's particularly leery of the H1N1 vaccine, which manufacturers began shipping this week. "I just think that's being totally rushed," she said.

Park isn't the only skeptic.

Jo-Lynne, 37, a Philadelphia-area mother of three who preferred not to give her last name, has never had a flu shot and doesn't intend to have her two girls get either a seasonal or H1N1 vaccine. She thinks kids get too many vaccines, and like Park, she is choosing to take preventive measures instead.

But she also has a son with asthma who gets a flu shot every year. She plans to abide by his allergist's advice on whether he should have the H1N1 vaccine, too.

In reviewing blog postings on the topic, HealthDay observed wide divisions -- pro and con -- on whether to vaccinate children against the flu.

Some of the main reasons cited included the notion that kids have strong immune systems, so getting the flu would simply bolster them against that strain in the future. Others believed that uptake of the vaccine was in the pharmaceutical manufacturers'
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