WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 11, 2009, 03:02 PM

Health care leaders urge parents to vaccinate children

(WDAY TV) - Health care leaders say too many parents are not listening to the warnings to get swine flu vaccinations.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

(WDAY TV) - Health care leaders say too many parents are not listening to the warnings to get swine flu vaccinations. The warning comes as a 15-year old West Fargo boy with the deadly virus fights for his life at MeritCare. He's been there for 2 months and is in critical condition.

The biology of swine flu impacts younger people more easily and severely. They haven't been exposed to as many agents as adults. The virus thrives on attacking those at risk populations or those with weak immune systems.

“The fact that he's there for a long time speaks to the devastating nature of this virus, so they're fighting hard for this individual's life and it's just taking that long.”

This latest case is causing many people to question why so many children are still not vaccinated. Swine flu can be fatal within days. For some, they are sick for weeks. Still, many parents are choosing to wait or not have their child vaccinated at all.

Leah Thvedt of West Fargo has waited months to get her two children vaccinated.

“I wanted to make sure I got the shot that didn't have the preservative. That was kinda my thing for my kids being this young.”

She's one of many parents who have held out for so long before deciding the shot is the right way to go.

“There's a whole lot of stuff going around.”

For others, they simply forgot or waited until vaccine was available for their child's age group.

“For awhile, I know it wasn't available.”

With the vaccine available to almost everyone, some are now just getting the shot.

“The last thing you want to do is have our kids get it for any reason.”

He too is packing into Seven Day Clinic to prepare for the expected next wave of swine flu cases. That could be within weeks.

“You kind of always think, you won't get it and being so many cases keep popping up.”

For these parents who were against the vaccine, they say now they're happy to be taking the precaution.

“I'm actually glad I waited because I've been able to hear other people's experiences.”

The latest figure shows one in six Americans have had or been exposed to swine flu.