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Swine Flu Trials – Would You Let Your Kid be a Guinea Pig?

guinea-pig-swine-flu1Swine flu — or novel influenza A H1N1, if you like — has taken the world by storm, and the CDC has warned Americans that we’re likely to see a resurgence as early as September when kids jump back into the germ pool (school).

Clinical trials for a vaccine have already started, but health officials aren’t just looking to inject healthy adults — they’re also trying the shot out on kids, too, to see if it’s effective. And some parents — hoping to avoid swine flu altogether — are more than happy to let researchers experiment on their kids.

From Cincinnatti.com, who talked to Jessica Shelly, a mother who’s trying to get her almost three-year-old triplets into a swine flu vaccine clinical trial in Ohio:

“We definitely didn’t follow the exact vaccine schedules laid out by the AMA with the boys,” the Union Township woman said. “But for this particular incident with the H1N1, we feel comfortable and confident being part of the clinical trials.”

Because the bulk of the swine flu vaccine has been manufactured exactly like the seasonal flu shot — which has a long safety history — health experts believe the risk of severe reactions are small. But vaccines are one of those dicey parenting topics, anyway, so letting your little one try out a brand spanking new version? Other parents aren’t so sure.

Rita Palmer, mother and founder of My Children, My Choice tells Cincinnati.com:

“Nobody’s truly aware of the risks, the benefits, whether or not this will combat the disease, whether or not there’s truly a health crisis going on with the swine flu,” she said. “All we really know, in my opinion, is there’s aggressive marketing by Big Pharma and ignorance by federal health authorities.”

Big Pharma conspiracy theories aside, we’ll all face this decision sooner or later this fall: Let the kids get the shot or risk letting them catch the flu. If you could sign your children up now for clinical trials — essentially putting them at the front of the line for early protection, would you? Or would you rather wait and see the results when they come out? And when the shot does become available, will you get it?

Photo: sxc.hu

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