Lupus and H1N1 Vaccine (I can't believe this)...
I just can't believe this.... (sorry this is so long)
My family doctor just called me to say they got a limited supply of the H1N1 vacccine (we live in Toronto, Canada) and the reason for the call was to put my 3 1/2 yr old son and my 58 year old asthmatic mother on the list to get the injection at our family doctor's office instead of making us wait in line with the general public to get the shot. As well, my sister and her husband who are caregivers of 3 children 14 months, 4 1/2 years & 7 years were put on my doctor's list along with the children.
My question is why am I not considered 'high risk' and put on the list with the rest of my family? The rationality behind my sister and her husband who are perfectly healthy individuals being put on the list for the vaccine is that they are caregivers to their 3 children who ARE high risk. What about me? I am the primary caregiver to my son 3 1/2, as well, I have lupus and my immune system is severely compromised due to the fact that I take imuran and prednisone on a daily basis for my lupus. I am completely floored by the fact that I am the only one being left out and can not receive this H1N1 shot through my family doctor.
Now, my own research has told me that here in Toronto Canada, there are 2 different versions of the vaccine - the first is an Adjuvated Vaccine and has something called squalene in it which is an immune booster, this allows there to be less of the actual vaccine in the shot because the squalene boosts the individual's immune system into overdrive to create antibodies against the actual H1N1 virus very quickly. As everyone here with lupus knows, we have an autoimmune disease which means that something with our immune system is wonky and it causes our own immune system to attack itself. Taking an 'immune booster' could cause alot of harm to us since the stronger our immune system is, the more it can attack our own tissues, organs, etc. So, the regular H1N1 vaccine that is being given to my family is not for me....
This brings me to the 2nd version of the H1N1 vaccine here in Canada. This is a Non-Adjuvated Vaccine and here, it is only being offered to pregnant women who are over 20+ weeks into their pregnancy. This non adjuvanted vaccine has no immune booster in it but has more of the actual H1N1 virus in it. It seems to me that those of us with lupus or at least myself should be getting this non-adjuvated vaccine b/c we can't get the one with the immune booster. Guess what? Can't get it. Only 20+ week pregnant women can get this shot.
So, all us lupus people here in Canada who are taking meds to supress our immune system are not considered high risk enough to get the regular adjuvated shot before the general public and are definitely not considered for any reason to get the non-adjuvated shot unless we happen to be 20+ weeks pregnant. Where does this leave us? I, with my compromised immune system pick up every little cold that goes around. I usually spend 7 months of the year sniffling, sneezing, coughing, feverish etc. I truly believe that I am at high risk to get H1N1 and I am at high risk to have a hard time fighting the virus once I get it because of the compromised immune system. I am frustrated and am thinking of going to the public line ups and telling the clinic people that I AM 20+ weeks pregnant just to get the shot at all and I am talking the non-adjuvated kind.
I feel like I have no one to turn to for advise about this, my family doctor has made her decision and my reumatologist has been on extended sick leave since April because of breast cancer (bless her).
Any comments would be greatly appreciated, especially from anyone in Canada or Ontario, Canada specifically.
Thanks so much for reading this HUGE post - I wanted to make sure all the info got into it. As well, excuse any spelling mistakes....