Thursday, October 29, 2009

H1N1 hits close to home

I look to my husband to quell any sort of medical hysteria that surfaces in the media: cell phones causing brain tumors, to vaccinate or not to, etc. I don't usually get too worked up about these things.

Last night, we learned that a 7th grader from a nearby town died earlier this week. The exact cause of death is yet to be determined, but she did have H1N1. More tests are being taken. My heart broke for this family. I immediately thought of my own 12 year old, 7th grader.

Yesterday afternoon, I was surprised to read in the New York Times that a large percentage of the parents in NYC had not given consent for the vaccine. This morning, I realized why this may be the case. I was looking through the 6 or 7 notes/announcements that E brought home (the usual pile of paperwork from school) and found one about his school's upcoming H1N1 clinic. The paper was filled with small type that I quickly scanned. As I was looking for the date of the clinic (this Monday) I quickly noticed that a consent form needed to be turned in TODAY for an official count. The consent form could be DOWNLOADED from the internet or picked up from the school. ARGH! I called the school and was told I could turn it in by the end of TODAY. I went on line and dug through several links to find the form which I will fill out and submit by the end of school. Rhode Islanders, here is a link to the form.

HELLO! We just got this notice last night. What about the other families who missed reading the fine print and are at work today with no way of knowing that the deadline for signing up is TODAY. What about the families that don't have access to the internet? There are many. No wonder the numbers are low in NYC and probably every where else.

I don't blame anyone. This is all happening so quickly, that information may fall through the cracks. If you plan to vaccinate your kids, please be vigilant in your pursuit to find out about the clinics and necessary forms in your area. Whether you vaccinate you children or not is none of my business. The debate is heated. But for me, everything we do in life is a gamble. Each day we are faced with making choices outweighing risks. I hope that none of us regret the choices we make.

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