Friday, May 07, 2010

playing safe!

it's like using a condom.

do you want to take the risk? are you prepared to suffer the consequences? i have been mulling over it since the issue came up last year & yesterday, i decided to play it safe.

i got 3 syringes of the H1N1 vaccine for the family.

i had strongly resisted the use of tamiflu last year as well as the newly manufactured H1N1-specific vaccine this year; the former because although it's effective against the common seasonal flu but doubtful against H1N1, while i hesitated over the vaccine because there's concern over it's long-term side effects, specifically to the nervous system.

besides, since H1N1 is reportedly to affect mainly those who are pregnant and people with underlying conditions like hypertension & diabetes, i figured the potential risk of the vaccine just about exceeded that of the flu itself.

that was until i read about a healthy 40yr old man who died from the flu. for me, that changes the scenario altogether. that's when i decided to play it safe.

like using a condom.


reanaclaire said...

i still havent taken my family for the jab yet... wonder whether it is free now in GH as mentioned by a blogger.. one govt clinic is giving free jabs... true?

suituapui said...

The last outbreak, I had all the H1N1 symptoms...and I self-medicate and stayed at home, self-confinement until I go better. Was tired, weak for a long time...weeks!!! But eventually returned to normal. If it had been H1N1, does that mean I have the antibodies now?

P.S. Don't charge me, doc! Free consultation! LOL!!!

P.P.S. I heard a doc in the hospital simply refused to be vaccinated (Dunno why? Scared of injections perhaps?)...and she has FIVE little children. Since she works in the hospital, wouldn't that be high risk...and wouldn't she be putting her kids in danger?

Mei Teng said...

Has this vaccine been tested before its release?

eugene said...

I guess this disease keeps changing or they say "mutating" ,now we just cant be too sure to be assured, can we?

Good weekend and God Bless

zewt said...

when a doc asked to do it, i guess we have to take the advice eh?

anyway, i am just disgusted that this h1n1 thingy has totally lost media attention. apparently, it is a big thing in japan.

JoMel said...

like condoms...

Hmm, now you've put things into perspective! :)

doc said...


according to news report, ALL govt clinics & hosps are giving the jabs for free.

reader said...

hi doc, i don't quite understand, why did the news of ONE man make you change your mind whereas there have been many, many cases of those who got the jab and had side effects? (esp. children)

i'm just very curious although i do understand your concerns of playing it safe but then... (if you know what i mean) =)

also, is it true that most docs are PRO (for) vaccines?


doc said...


having all the H1N1 symptoms does NOT mean you had H1N1, unless you tested for it by a throat swab, because all flu sypmtoms, whether common flu, bird or swine flu, are alike.

but yes, if you had H1N1 last year, it's still the same strain this year, ie. californian strain, & you are likely to have antibodies against it. but once a new strain emerges, it's back to square 1.

some docs, like me, are reluctant to get vaccinated because the long-term safety issues of the new vaccine are still unclear. the vaccine has been tested on humans only last year, & although shown to be effective against H1N1, no one knows for sure what side-effect may arise years down the road. remember thalidomide?

but i took it because i'm exposed to sick patients all the time & that 40-yr-old man who died from it made me realise no one is spared.

unfortunately, i'll have to charge you - big plate of kampua mee with all the extras. rain check?

doc said...

Mei Teng,

the vaccine was tested on humans in aust, USA, india & a host of other countries & found to be effective against H1N1.

if you read the product info sheet that comes with the vaccine, there's a list of possible side effects.

so you'll have to weigh the benefits of protection against the possibility of side effects.

doc said...


the flu virus is notorious for mutating into a another strain. that's why the vaccine is valid only for this year, hence it's called influvac 2010. as long as the virus remains in it current form, this vaccine will be effective against it.

doc said...


since the vaccine is freely available & this flu could become an epidemic (or, could it be one already??) it's better to get the jab.

IMHO, our media are down-playing the true situation (it's much worse!!) & i think MOH is not releasing reliable reports, presumably to avoid mass panic.

doc said...


seriously, why use one if there's no need for it???

(yes, i wished i didn't need to have the jab)

doc said...

dear Reader,

thanks for your comment.

although the side effects of the vaccine are mainly mild ones, & even the serious ones are amenable to prompt medical treatment, i wasn't too concerned of the flu because all deaths reported involved pregnant women & people who have underlying diseases. but now there's at least one young, healthy person who has died from it. which means i am NOT spared, & since i face sick people almost everyday, i figured the risk of death from the flu outweighs the potential side-effects of the vaccine.

most of the doctors i know have vaccinated themselves & their families, so i must have been one of the last few "recalcitrant" ones!!

Michelle Mak said...

i've seen the frontliners in hosp got this jab..
and majority down with fever, swollen arms... and some even have pus.. its freaking scary and i am definitely not taking any of it..

doc said...


scary, isn't it? but i suspect that abscess is due to poor hygiene during injection rather than due to the vaccine itself.

so far, we're ok, so i guess we got away!!