Mom decides to give flu vaccine a shot
Crystal Lewis Brown, an Army spouse of four years, is editor of the Fort Jackson Leader.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- I have always been a skeptic. And when I first heard about the new H1N1 vaccine, my skepticism kicked into high gear.

The first time I got a seasonal flu vaccine was 2007. And that was because a friend convinced me to go with her. But I have never really seen the need for getting any type of flu vaccine, and for me, H1N1 was no different. In my research, the seasonal flu is deadlier than H1N1, so why should I worry'

Earlier this week, the decision was made. As my husband and I drank coffee and looked through the Sunday newspaper, I told him: "I'm not getting (the baby) vaccinated."

"Why'" he asked. My response was that it was untested, and didn't more people get sick from the flu vaccine than from the actual flu' And just like that, it was done.

There was only one problem with my decision. Despite my research, I am missing one thing: medical training.

Monday night, I attended a Family Readiness Group meeting at which Col. Nancy Hughes, commander of Moncrief Army Community Hospital, gave attendees a rundown on the immunization plan.

Hughes, a nurse with more than 20 years in the Army, didn't use scare tactics, she didn't try to force anything on anyone, but what she did do was make a lot of sense. And what she said that night put things into perspective for me.

Despite my best efforts, as a mom with a child in day care, my child will touch people and things and put a variety of things in his mouth. And although I think I can control everything, experience proves that I cannot.

Children, my child at least, do all the things we are told not to do in order to avoid becoming infected with the flu. They touch their eyes, noses and mouths and almost without fail, put their hands on other people's faces.

They do not sneeze into their sleeves, they don't always wash their hands and they don't understand the concept of giving a fist bump instead of a hug. And in my case, that hug is often accompanied by a runny nose, a wet kiss or an exclamation that turns into him spitting in my face.

So knowing all of this, why wouldn't I do everything I can to protect my child against getting any type of flu' And while my own son's health is the catalyst for my decision, I am also thinking about the other children he will contact.

Children younger than 6 months are not eligible to receive any type of flu vaccine. And keeping my son healthy plays a part in the health of those children, as well.

Is the flu vaccine right for you and your family'

I can't answer that.

But what is right is doing your research, consulting with medical professionals and doing what you think is in the best interest of your child.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16