Welcome to our blog! -- the place to be to learn about growing up with pediatric brain injury and a wonderful little girl named Sarah, as told by Sarah's Mom!

We're B-A-A-A-C-K!

Well, we're back! Me and our whole household after an unexpected -- and basically uneventful, thankfully! -- bout with an unknown, seasonal malaise that caused headaches and fitful sleep, along with low grade aches and pains. Somehow we managed still to navigate getting flu shots, although not the H1N1, because it is not yet available at our pediatrician's office. Our county public health department has also run into a shortage for distribution. While many parents have anguished over whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccination for their children, based on news stories that the vaccine may not have been adequately tested for safety, here's my take on it:

For myself and my husband, we still feel uneasy -- just because the media has worn us out so -- but plan to go ahead and vaccinate Sarah, her brother Josh, and baby Emma. We trust the findings of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that has been conducting a series of trials in children age 6 mos-17 years. Here's how the results have broken down:

Preliminary analysis of blood samples from trial participants showed that a single 15-microgram dose of a non-adjuvanted 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine – the same dose that is in the seasonal flu vaccine – generates an early (within 10 days) immune response that is expected to be protective against 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. (An "adjuvant" is a substance added to a vaccine to boost the immune response to the vaccine if a boost might be needed.)

Generally, the early responses of younger children were less strong. Among those aged 3 to 9 years old, a strong immune response was seen in 36 percent. In the youngest group, between 6 months to 35 months old, a single 15-microgram dose of vaccine produced a strong immune response in 25 percent. NIAID researchers expect that these immune responses will be similar to those for the regular, seasonal flu vaccination and will continue to rise for several weeks following after getting vaccinated. NIAID's study is being closely monitored by the trial physicians and staff, as well as by an independent safety monitoring committee.

For further information about NIAID-sponsored clinical trials of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines, see the following NIAID documents: Overview: Pediatric Trials; and Trials in Pregnant Women.