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The Google Flu Tracker could not have been brought to my attention at any better time. Why wait to see symptoms of the flu in the line at the grocery store when the master of search results can do it for me? As those of you who subscribe to my blog already know, my little one is allergic to eggs (and just about everything else you can name) and every year I go through the angst of making the decision whether or not to subject her to the vaccination process.

A few weeks ago I came across an article that stated that in their opinion that the flu vaccines which are made in (where else?) China were not sufficiently tested for safety. Why can't these people get it right? As if I didn't have enough to worry about with the Thimersol thing, now they are throwing this at me. These are the same jokers that can't keep melamine out their own baby's milk.

Should we believe that they care more about a bunch of people in the United States not getting the flu than they do about their own kids? Does anybody know what percentage, if any, of the flu vaccines that are used in the USA comes from China? Or do we primarily use products made by Sanofi Pasteur and Wyeth Lederle? I know that a few years back when there was a shortage that overseas companies were mentioned. I wonder if that has changed.

Meanwhile, the time is closing in on me to make my move. Google Flu Tracker shows that there is not much activity in our area at the moment. However, with all the travel that takes place from state to state during the holiday season we know those statistics can change in a New York minute.

One thing that I'm having a hard time understanding is why my baby's allergist insists that she needs the shot in spite of the fact that she has an egg allergy as well as the research that has reported that flu shots don't reduce the risk of death. I know she has asthma and the flu would be very dangerous for her, but if they say the shots don't work what's the good in it? Perhaps I should just pay close attention to the Google Flu Tracker tool and flu trends in the United States and run from the risk of viral infection the same way storm trackers run from storms?

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues for more on my decision whether or not to vaccinate my family for the flu.


Anonymous said...

You mentioned that "research that has reported that flu shots don't reduce the risk of death." That research only pertains to the elderly (those 65 and older). Older people to do not have a strong immune response to most vaccines, meaning that they do not have as much protection from the disease. Babies and children have a much stronger immune response to vaccines, which means that they have a better resistance to the disease they have been vaccinated against.

The Google Flu Tracker is an amazing tool, but I don't know that I would use it to track when to receive a flu shot. In general the season runs from mid-November through April, so we're not in the peak season yet. I plan on using it to avoid the stores and other crowded areas when the flu peaks in my area! Avoiding crowds, handwashing and general good hygiene are always a good place to start when you want to avoid getting sick.

I haven't heard anything about China producing flu shots. Where did you hear that? I'd love to look into it more. I do know that none of the companies mentioned below are based in China (of course that doesn't completely rule out Chinese production...)
"...companies currently licensed to produce influenza vaccine in the U.S. market (, Inc., MedImmune Vaccines Inc., Novartis Vaccine, and GlaxoSmithKline, Inc.) are expanding their manufacturing capacity. This year, a record amount of flu vaccine will be produced." http://www.flusupplynews.com/health_pros.cfm