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They Say: Most Parents Skipping Second Swine Flu Shot

By jeannesager |

vaccine1The swine flu season is still in full swing, but many parents say they’re not going to get the second swine flu shot for their kids.

And that doesn’t make health officials happy.

Many state health departments are starting another round of H1N1 vaccine awareness campaigns – this time aimed at stressing the importance of a second shot for children nine and younger. The CDC concurs – they recommend kids get two shots to strengthen their immunity.

With vaccine supply increasing, the jostling on the clinic lines is largely over, and parents can easily access them in most spots around the country.

So why aren’t they? The vaccine recalls no doubt played a role – even though the recall was not related to any health issues with the vaccine.  Then there’s the hassle many of us faced getting the first one – and the long lines we waited on with cranky children. Not to mention the space between the two – you have to wait a month between the shots, and scheduling is never easy for parents.

The dip in cases being reported hasn’t helped either – the number of people going to the doctor for influenza-like illness dropped from 4.3 percent to 2.6 percent in December. And the media simply hasn’t been reporting the cases as they had before – because it’s no longer new news.

But the CDC estimates that more than one thousand kids likely died of swine flu last year (there is no exact count). They estimate eighteen million kids were taken ill by the disease. And it’s hardly over – the flu season could last through April or May.

Did you get your child the second shot?

Image: alvi2047 via flickr

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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15 thoughts on “They Say: Most Parents Skipping Second Swine Flu Shot

  1. Lorraine says:

    Health Canada retracted its recommendation for two shots for children under 10. They said the first shot was sufficient.
    This is odd that the two philosophies are off.

  2. libs says:

    My doc also pushed the seasonal flu shot and said she didn’t think the second H1N1 was necessary because “it is mostly passed now”.

  3. jeannesager says:

    Lorraine – even Health Canada still calls for children up to 3 years to get a second shot, and for children with medical conditions up to age 10 to get a second one.

    It is interesting that there’s a difference, however!

  4. patricia says:

    A friend of mine works for the CDC on H1N1 and told me last month to please, please get myself and your kids fully vaccinated (my family already were fully vaccinated at that point). According to her, it’s going to come back and it may be worse, since it’s started to mutate. It’s not like the seasonal flu in that it dies out over the summer- the last several pandemics lasted something like 3 years each.

  5. Laure68 says:

    That is interesting about Health Canada. Does anyone know why they changed their policy?

    For kids under 9, they are somewhat protected by one shot, but they are closer to 100% protected by getting 2 shots. (It can never actually reach 100%.) If everyone was vaccinated, maybe being 80% or so protected would be OK, because the virus would not be spreading around, but I saw recently that only 20% of Americans were vaccinated for H1N1. That means you cannot rely on herd immunity.

    We already got our son his second shot, and I am very glad we did. (And we also got our H1N1 shots when they became available to us.) There is a high possibility for a third wave, and it is difficult to predict how that will turn out.

    Except for people who are very poor and cannot afford the shot, I’m not sure why one wouldn’t be fully vaccinated.

  6. Laure68 says:

    Of course, you should also get your seasonal flu shot.

  7. LogicalMama says:

    My kid’s pediatrician thinks the booster in unnecessary. She said that we don’t get boosters on our yearly flu shots and the h1n1 shot is the same as a seasonal flu shot. Had the virus come forward sooner, it would have been included in the seasonal flu shot and who gets boosters? First timers only. She said if he had had a flu shot previously, there was no need for a booster……

  8. jeannesager says:

    Not to be contrary, but kids do get a booster on their seasonal flu the first time they get it. Since this is a different shot, it would make sense to me that it’s a whole different ball game.

  9. Laure68 says:

    “Among the youngest children (6 to 35 months), 100 percent had a robust immune response after the second 15-microgram dose compared with only 25 percent three weeks after the first dose.”

    “In children aged 3 through 9 years old, 94 percent had a robust response after the second 15-microgram dose compared with only 55 percent three weeks after the first dose.”

    Unless there has been updated data that I haven’t been able to find, children need that second shot.

  10. [...] They Say: Most Parents Skipping Second Swine Flu Shot | Strollerderby [...]

  11. LogicalMama says:

    Jeanne, I did state that first timers with the seasonal flu shot get the booster, but each year after that, a booster isn’t necessary. Theoretically, if the h1n1 shot is the same as a flu shot, then a booster wouldn’t be needed. As stated, if the virus showed up earlier and was part of the regular seasonal flu shot, boosters wouldn’t be recommended. Every year the seasonal flu shot is a different shot, so if it makes sense to you to get the booster for the h1n1 because it’s different, then you should get the booster for the flu shot every year you get it.

  12. MinorityView says:

    Comments There is a lot of weird stuff around this pandemic. Did you know that WHO changed their definition and now they are claiming they didn’t change it? Here is the evidence from their own web-site:

    And to answer the question, my grandchildren didn’t even get the first shot. Both fine and they’ll continue to be fine.

  13. [...] But would parents go for it?  Despite the fact that H1N1 caused a dramatic increase in pediatric flu deaths in 2009, response to the vaccine has been ambivalent at best. [...]

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