Last week, I received the H1N1 influenza vaccine at the Student Health Center.
I must admit I was apprehensive about getting vaccinated because of all the speculation and commentary in the media and around town. However, I did plenty of research and made the decision to get it.
I was shocked to hear that Consumer Reports found two out of three parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children against the H1N1 virus.
Since the targeted age group who do not have the best defenses against the H1N1 virus is six months to 24 years of age, I was especially surprised.
There were stories of how the vaccine had high levels of mercury and how it was three times as strong as the seasonal influenza vaccine making it especially unsafe for children and pregnant women.
The famous vaccine preservative thimerosal does contain mercury, but a low dose of it. The preservative thimerosal is used in multi-vial doses to prevent bacteria from getting into the vaccine. The only proven side effect of the H1N1 shot is swelling or redness at the injection site.
If you are still hesitant to receive the vaccine that contains thimerosal, you should consider getting the nasal spray vaccines, which is a live form and come is single-dose components and contain no thimerosal. So there should be no excuse to not get the H1N1 vaccine.
All the vaccines, including the H1N1 are FDA approved. The seasonal flu vaccine has been used since the 1930s.
Many also have said that you will need a total of two doses of the vaccine. However, the National Institutes of Health and flu vaccine manufacturers, through clinical trials, have come to the conclusion that healthy adults and children ages 10 or older only need one dose of the vaccine.
Another myth is that if you have already received the seasonal influenza vaccine, you cannot receive the H1N1 influenza vaccine. This is false.
Many want to receive the vaccine, but have not received it because they think it is expensive or do not have health insurance. However, unlike the seasonal flu vaccine, the federal government has picked up all the costs of the H1N1 influenza vaccine. There are many public clinics offering the H1N1 vaccine free of charge. There are many schools and colleges offering the vaccine to children and students free of charge. There may be a small charge for administering the vaccine at some private medical clinics.
Many have even spread rumors that it is mandatory to get the H1N1 influenza vaccine. It is voluntary to get the vaccine for those who choose to receive it. According to flu.gov, all these speculations mentioned above are false.
People should do their research and speak to their primary doctor and other medical professionals to ensure what is best for them before they listen to random people who have absolutely no knowledge and make conclusions based on those opinions. People who are allergic to eggs should take extra precautions.
Plus, the H1N1 influenza vaccine is made the same way as the seasonal influenza vaccine, and there have been millions of people receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine without having any complications. I believe you have more of a risk of dying when crossing the street or driving a car than getting the H1N1 vaccine.
Although the H1N1 pandemic may not be as strong as we may think, this virus is still new to us so we must take all the precautions possible. We must remember there have been deaths caused by the H1N1 virus.
Natalie Veissalov, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.