October 6th, 2009
03:46 PM ET

Vaccinate: Indecision, decision?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/10/05/h1n1.vaccine.campaign/art.h1n1.vaccine.wthr.jpg caption="Health care workers in Indiana and Tennessee are among the first to receive the H1N1 vaccine Monday."]

David Puente
AC360° Producer

Yesterday I met Dr. Mehmet Oz in the green room here at CNN before his segment on AC360°. We talked about the free clinic that he organized in Houston last week for Americans who don’t have health insurance, cant afford to see a doctor, but really need medical help. It broke records treating almost 2000 patients. And, of course, we spoke about whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccine.

Dr. Oz said he was getting vaccinated. As a surgeon, he said “it’s the responsible thing to do.” But he admitted that his wife and some of his kids are refusing to get the vaccine.

“Yikes,” I thought. I had hoped that this would be a good opportunity to get solid advice from Dr. Oz. Do I get the vaccine? Or don’t I? But, I thought, if his wife and kids aren’t listening to him – should I?

Regardless, I went ahead and asked, “What about me Dr. Oz? Should I be vaccinated?”

“Yes you should,” he said in the good nature that characterizes him, but also firmly, without thinking twice. “It’s the smart thing to do. Even if you aren’t in a risk group, you don’t want to take the chance.”

Good enough for me, I thought. He’s a renowned surgeon, on the board at Columbia University and Oprah’s doc for goodness sake!

But then after tweeting about my meeting I started getting inundated with messages on Twitter and Facebook about the H1N1 vaccine. The chatter continues, and seems to be growing about how unreliable the H1N1 vaccine may be. People are obviously unsure about its safety, no matter what the experts are saying.

One blog I read today pointed out that opposition to H1N1 vaccines continues to worry authorities. As the vaccines get distributed by the federal government to the states, opposition to getting vaccinated worries authorities – especially for those who are most at risk. How significant does the government think the number of people refusing to get vaccinated really is?

Then, in the New York Times, I read an opinion by Kevin Pho, a primary care doctor in Nashua, N.H. who blogs at KevinMD.com. He writes:

“Not only are patients asking me whether they should receive the H1N1 influenza vaccine, but it’s a question doctors are asking themselves. Recent polls say doctors and nurses may be more resistant to getting vaccinated than most Americans. The British Medical Journal published a survey showing that less than half of health care professionals are willing to receive the vaccine, while a poll from the Nursing Times found that only 37 percent of front-line nurses plan to be vaccinated against H1N1 influenza.”

So some doctors aren’t sure, nurses can’t decide, parents are still researching to make a final decision. I had Dr. Oz to help me make mine – though I may eventually be on the side of his wife and kids – but it worries me that flu season has begun and there are still so many unanswered questions about this vaccination.

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Filed under: David Puente • H1N1
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. DrB

    The flu shot is KILLED virus; you do NOT and CANNOT get the flu from it. The shot is safe. Reading some of these comments makes me wonder if a tour of some 18th and 19th century . even some early 20th century cemeteries to read the dates on the tombstones might help with the decision–especially those who died in 1918-20.

    October 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  2. alicenyc

    The H1N1 vaccine is no diffferent than the countless others that have been given over the years. The only difference is that the public is aware of it's name. If you have never had a flu shot before, and you plan on having them this year, I would suggest you do it in your doctors office. There are always risk with all vaccines, the key is education , ask questions and make sure to tell the nurse about any allergy.I would also suggest that you do it when you are healthy. I had my flu shot already and I will take the H1N1 when its available to me. I had the flu one year and it was terrible, never again.

    October 6, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  3. Tim Gibson

    The swine flu vaccine came much to fast to hold water as to the safety and reliability and I stand with the wife and kids on this one. I am in one of the groups who are told I should by all means get the vaccine but no way in hell am I going to have something like this shot into my body. Not today, not next week or next month. I would just as soon take my chances with the flu season as the words of government, the CDC and the FDA who have failed in the worst way in even keeping us safe from food born bacteria.

    I say, ship the vaccine back to where it came from and end the attempts to create fear in the people, unless of course they know something they are not telling us, like how this flu came to be and the opps that allowed it.

    October 6, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  4. Elizabeth

    I do not think it has been tested long enough to see the side effects.
    Also how are the Poor unemployed uninsured people to afford all this? The price of all these would come close to what a grocery bill would be. Some just can not afford it.

    October 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  5. alex lyrics

    If we get vaccinated and contract a deadly form of cancer then what?

    October 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  6. Kim

    Please explain the quadruple reassortant and the strain of influenza of which the vaccination cures. Is there a test to verify and list what's in that vaccination.The strain of influenza changes you guys and go research what the scientists are saying that have studied it. What are spraying up our nose ?

    October 6, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  7. Roger, Phoenix, AZ

    I have two questions for Dr Oz.

    1. Why are his wife and kids not getting the vaccine?

    2. If he didn't have to get the vaccine, would he?

    I find it odd that his own family isn't getting it. Why?

    October 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  8. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Since I'm not at high risk and managed to miss catching this flu while many at my workplace didn't, think I'll wait and see what effects this vaccine has before I become a test "guinea". It seems to me they rushed this whole process to satisfy the panicking masses, and I'm just not feeling all that warm and fuzzy about it as a result.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  9. Kendal Fuller

    There are a lot of opinions about the H1N1 vaccine. We do not know whether or not it has any side effects. I think that the vaccine came to fast into the world. It supposes to take some time before it gets out onto the market. Doctors should get more test results, in my own opinion, before they start sticking people with needles. At the same time everyone has to understand their reason for developing it so fast. The H1N1 virus is spreading so fast, and the doctors want to put a stop to it. If it comes down to living, people would try just about anything to live. I know I probably would.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  10. Cindy

    In my opinion I think this swine flu vaccine has not been tested enough to truly see if it works and the side effects of it. This thing was thrown together so fast and put out on the market there is no way they properly tested it. So there is NO WAY I'd even remotely think of getting this thing! Besides that..just look at how many people get the flu shot and end up getting the flu from the shot! I'll pass!


    October 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm |