To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate?

flu_1797500cAnd no, this is NOT a post about the “to vaccinate or not to vaccinate” your baby debate, this is a post about whether or not to vaccinate my family against flu next winter. And when I say flu, I’m not talking about the common cold that so many of us refer to as flu, where we sneeze, snot & cough and feel rotten.

I’m talking about influenza. I’m talking about the kind of flu that I’ve only had about 4 times in my life, including this week. The kind of flu that saw me fight a 39 degree fever for 3 days. The kind of flu that made everything hurt, my eyes burned, I was light headed and had dizzy spells, I was weak and couldn’t get out of bed, my skin hurt and my joints pained. I’m talking about the kind of flu that saw Walter rushing Ava to the emergency room on Tuesday evening after 2 solid days of having her temperature hover between 40.1 & 40.8 degrees and NO meds having any effect on it.

Ava stopped eating and had two days & two nights of vomiting and has lost weight, today, her first “well” day in a week, I can see how her clothes are hanging off her body from how sick she’s been.

I only ever recall feeling this sick a couple of times previously, once was when I got chicken pox at age 21 & I literally thought I was dying and once just after the 1995 Rugby World Cup when all the foreigners visiting SA bought all those funny strains of flu virus into the country.

We’ve never had the flu vaccine before, to be honest, it’s been such a long time since I had proper flu, that I didn’t really see the point in having it. But after this past week, that saw Walter having to take time off work to look after Ava & I as I was too weak to even get out of bed or cook a meal, I am very seriously considering having us all vaccinated at the start of next winter. I don’t want to be this sick again. I don’t ever want to see Ava be so sick ever again. In her almost 4 years of life, I have never seen my child so ill. For two days, Walter set his alarm every 3 hours, day and night, so that he could take Ava’s temps and administer fever meds to her in a desperate attempt at breaking her fever. I’ve never seen Ava look like that, she didn’t even look like my child, her eyes were totally glossed over and she was delirious. It was very scary and we were both terrified she was going to have a seizure with such prolonged elevated temps.

Have you had the flu vaccine? Did you find it beneficial? Did you have a flu *not cold* free winter? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts? I’m very seriously considering the flu vaccine for next year, I really would like to at all costs, avoid feeling this way for another 10 years!

Image Source: The Daily Telegraph.


  • Christie Collier-Mann

    August 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I had the flu vaccination this year and am currently on my third round of boomerang flu, have just finished a round of very strong antibiotics which have done nothing for me. I’m probably not going to get one ever again. My 3 and 1/2 year old daughter didn’t get one and has just been diagnosed with the start of bronchial pneumonia so go figure, you’re screwed if you do and screwed if you don’t.

  • melissa

    August 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    My 15 year old is always sick with flu or sinus. He is a swimmer and thus really interferes with his training and galas. He has never swum the Midmar Mile at 100%. This year I decided for the 1st time in our family to give him the vaccine. Well all I can say is he has been flu, cold and sinus free all year. So I would say, yes worth a try xx

  • Paula

    August 31, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I have had it a few years and never got the flu. Didn’t get it this year and still flu free. Generally it is only effective agaisnt a few strains and due to antigenic shift this changes every year. It will certainty help prevent some cases but not all of it – a bit of a ‘do you fell lucky’ thing!

    Just to be pedantic, bronchial pneumonia is bacterial and won’t be prevented by the flu vaccine (although Prevenar will help prevent Strep Penumoniae pneumonia) and antibiotics won’t do a thing for influenza unless you have a bacterial super infection. Sorry for the microbiology lesson, it just helps to understand why people still get ill after getting the shot, and for what it will actually help!

    Hope you all feel better soon!

    • Sharon

      September 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Thanks for clarifying Paula. Always great to have someone from the medical fraternity weigh in on this issue and what you’ve said has made a lot of sense!

  • Tiina

    August 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    You know what Sharon, I’m the kinda gal who rather over does it but in this case, I’m not convinced. The reason is that the vaccine also contains the swine flu vaccine and there has been several cases of kids in Europe that have gotten narcolepsy and behavioural problems. In Finland, for instance, the government has to pay the affected parents because they have recommended it. Check here:

    Because of this, I chose not to vaccinate Leo, eventhough he was a premmie.

    So if you do, make a 100% sure its just against influenza, no Pandemrix.

  • Tania

    September 2, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Definitely do NOT vaccinate! Never EVER will I let my children have it, never EVER will I do it to myself again, my husband also refuses. The few times I dared to try during my adult life I was never more ill that whole winter after the vaccination, bronchitis, pneumonia, flue. My husband also suffered bad influenza the years that he did have the vaccination. I boost my children with immune boosters all winter long, starting around Easter time and continue through to October/November usually. Good luck! ( I’m glad you are all well again, weak but well. )

  • Charlene (@MsCharlieW)

    September 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

    OMW poor you! And poor Ava! I used to call a really bad cold, the flu. Until I got the flu a couple of years ago; it was so bad I thought I had food poisoning! I usually skip the flu shot, purely because I forget. But I won’t do that again. My sister’s little girl was in hospital because of the flu and I felt so sorry for her. Just as bad as Ava. I don’t want my little girl going through that. If there is a chance that the flu shot will keep that from happening, you can be sure that our whole family will be going for that jab next year.

  • Rene

    September 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    2 Years ago my husband got flu. It was really, really bad, so we then decided to all go for the flu vaccine the year after. And that was also the first year ever that I got flu. If you ever say “I have a cold or flu” then it means you don’t have flu. Fever at 40, every single muscle ached so much I could barely move. But I learned from my husband and went to the dr immediately to get an antiviral (not antibiotic), and the flu was gone in 3 days (then I was sick 1 more day with side-effects of the anti-viral), but I wasn’t sick for a month like my husband was.

    This year we decided to get the vaccine again, because I think I just got a strain that wasn’t covered by the vaccine, but just never got around to it. So, touch wood, we didn’t flu this year, only colds and my 2 year old keeps getting bronchiolitis.

    Oh, I have to add, I’ve had bronchitus a few times, and I’ve even been in hospital with double pneumonia combined with an ear and bladder infection, and it didn’t come close to how sick I was with flu.

  • Kristi Fraser

    September 3, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    knowing the ingredients is the first step in educating yourself, this can be found very easily online, another problem with vaccines is their method of entrance, you dont get the flu from and injection, so your body wont prepare the correct response, a homeopath can give you the vaccine in an oral dose, this is the natural route you would contract the flu so your body can prepare the correct response for any future exposure to that strain. I wont have my family vaccinated, my perfectly healthy
    baby boy developed asthma after an allergic reaction to his TB shot as a baby. not really worth it for me.


I LOVE comments, leave yours here:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: