A conversation with Trinette

This was during my pre-natal care, and paraphrased:

me: should I get a flu shot? (it was flu season)

Trinette: Conventional wisdom says yes, but there are reasons not to.

me: like what?

Trinette: the shot is going to make you sick, for one thing.

me: no, it will not. I’ve had one every year for the past five years and have not been sick afterwards. Also, they only put portions of the virus into the vaccine. They use the parts that your immune system latches onto so the part that sickens people isn’t even in it.

Trinette: well the bacteria they protect you against is only the one from last year.

me: Its an epidemiologists best guess, its not the last years virus.

Causes for concern here- a woman who is answering questions like these has no familiarity with how vaccines are made, their side effects, or the fact that the flu is a virus, not a bacteria. She also works with people’s young babies and is probably not vaccinated against the flu (if she takes her own advice). She was telling me not to protect my baby from the flu as well, a mistake that can be costly. This is in utah where a lack of vaccination against pertussis has caused infant deaths and a massive public health campaign to try and remedy the problem. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk for dying of influenza.

I was planning on complaining to the owner of Better Birth, Suzanne Smith, about this conversation but never got around to it. I doubt they would have cared, she displayed a calloused attitude towards truly egregious behavior that I did bother complaining about. Something small like endangering newborns with shoddy medical advice would have been considered a small thing, I’m sure.

I figured that she was a midwife and knew birth, not epidemiology or immunology. What a fool I was. She should have known basic information if she were to give advice on it. Despite how horribly I was treated at Better Birth during my labor, I sometimes think that it was a blessing that I was more or less forced to leave during my labor. It is hard for me to imagine that Better Birth is incompetent at everything except providing appropriate medical care.


  1. The way she spoke was completely unprofessional, however some people *have* gotten sick from the flu shot. A competent midwife would give you information on how vaccines are made, the ingredient lists and possible side effects to you and your child, and information on how to avoid the flu naturally. I’m sorry you were treated so frivolously.

  2. Oh yeah sorry, I assumed she meant that people got the flu from the shot. I know people have had adverse reactions, ‘get sick’ is kind of vague.

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