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I have been working on your answer! You did ask questions and a lot of good questions as well!
1. For your 5 yo: I would get the MMR now and then get the flu vaccines when all of you can get them. Since your 5 1/2 month old has to wait until 6 months anyway then all of you can get them at the same time. Hopefully that makes sense. ANd you are correct it has to be at least 4 weeks AFTER the MMR.
2. Get the injections instead of the nasal mists. There is a very weak but LIVE virus in the flu mist and it is VERY RARE that there is a transmission to another person but there has been cases of it so I would just eliminate that possibility and do the injections.
3. There is no good studies about nursing moms getting the vaccine and excretion in milk. It is advised just to use caution. However, that is why if you wait until he is over 6 months than you will be ok. There just is not a lot of information about that. Sorry.
4. As far as thimerosol free, it is difficult to get. Here is a site from the CDC that you can check out and see if the base will order for you. It is called FluZone.
This link is from the CDCs report on Prevention and Control of Influenza. The whole report is at:http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5306a1.htm#tab4Here's the part about vaccine without thimerosal:Aventis Pasteur produces FluZone®, which is FDA-approved for persons aged >6 months. FluZone containing thimerosal as a preservative is available in multidose vials. Preservative-free FluZone packaged as 0.25-mL unit dose syringes is available for use among persons aged 6--35 months. You can also find information at this site:Questions & Answers: Thimerosal-Containing Influenza Vaccinehttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/thimerosal.htm
I hope that this helps you to make your decisions. I know that it is very confusing and a difficult choice. You are doing a great job and Thanks for serving our Country. My son is a Marine!
I don't know if Japan has a health department that you can contact and ask them first if they have the flu vaccine, also you could ask them about the incidence of flu in that country. I will try to see if I can get that for you from the CDC.
Another option is to discuss with the base clinic to see if they will "hold" back your doses. The FluMist is only for 2 and up so unfortunately all of you could not have that one anyway. What do they do about the 2nd dose that is needed for children if this is their first time getting the flu vaccine?
Are you coming home (USA) for Christmas? You might consider waiting until then to get your flu vaccines.
I will try to check with the CDC about the peak season there. Give me some time!
What I found out so far is that the Flu Vaccine is not on the recommended travelers list. You could draw a conclusion from that that the incidence is low...
I spoke with the CDC and they are going to get me more specific information within 48 hours. I will pass that on to you when I get it.
The incidence reports that you get online about Japan are extrapolated meaning they are not actual statistics so they are not useful.
You did ask about a MMR booster for you. I would first get a titer done and see if you even need one. It is not recommended currently for adults to get boosters without a titer first.
ANother option would be to Increase your Vitamen D which studies have shown to boost the immune system and prevent flu.