H1N1 Vaccine Information
The H1N1 vaccine is safe. It is made like every seasonal flu vaccine is made, and has taken the same amount of time to produce. Next year it will be a part of the regular seasonal flu shot. This year, because the virus emerged late, it could not be included with the seasonal vaccine, therefore a second flu shot had to be produced.
Thousands have already received the vaccine. The most common side effect is slight redness and tenderness at the site of the injection.
Some have questioned whether they need to be vaccinated if they think they already had the flu. While it is true that getting the H1N1 swine flu should cause one to develop immunity against future infection, there are problems with assuming that you would not need the vaccine. For example:
- A person with a weak immune system might not develop full immunity even if they did have H1N1 flu.
- You may have been infected with a different influenza virus that the test could not distinguish from novel H1N1 flu.
- The test may have been incorrect and presented what we call a “false positive” result, especially when the typical “rapid” flu test is utilized.
Getting vaccinated against H1N1 influenza is the best way to protect against this infection; even if a person did have the H1N1 infection already, vaccination would not hurt at all.
H1N1 Intranasal Vaccine Information
The intranasal, non-shot vaccine is ideal for the healthy college student. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine rarely causes side effects. Some may complain of an odd taste or mild side effects, such as headache or low-grade fever, but most people do not experience any of these symptoms.
Although the vaccine is a live virus, it is a weakened version of the flu and is therefore incapable of causing human illness. The safe practice of distributing weakened vaccines for such illnesses as the mumps, rubella measles and polio has existed for decades. In addition, the intranasal vaccine is “cold adapted,” which means it cannot survive at body temperature.
The Health Center now has a pneumococcal vaccine available for certain individuals considered at high-risk for getting pneumococcal disease, including those 19 to 64 years old who have asthma or are smokers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the seasonal and H1N1 flu predispose individuals to developing secondary bacterial pneumonia. Many people who have experienced serious and sometimes fatal complications from H1N1 flu also have been infected with streptococcus pneumonia, a major cause of pneumonia.
Treatment of pneumococcal infections with penicillin and other drugs used to be more effective. But some strains of the disease have become resistant to these drugs. This makes prevention of the disease, through vaccination, even more important. The pneumococcal vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria, including those most likely to cause serious disease. Those who receive the vaccine usually develop protection against most or all types of pneumococcal bacteria within two to three weeks of getting the shot. The vaccine is not recommended for healthy persons younger than 65.
For further information, please contact the Health Center at 570-372-4385.