FAQ – Questions brewing in your brain for H1N1 vaccine


swine-fluSwine flu was declared a national emergency in the US by president Obama this week.  Swine flu has spread in 46 states out of 50.  There is still shortage of the swine flu vaccine.  There are a lot of questions, which are related to swine flu vaccine and swine flu itself.  I heard a program on National Public Radio (NPR) that addressed some of the basic questions. I have summarized some of the questions:


swine-fluDo I have chances of getting swine flu if I am healthy?

Center for Disease Control (CDC) looked at health data for 1900 people who were affected by swine flu and reported that they did not have any symptom of asthma or other chronic health problem.  Thus, healthy people also have high chance of being affected by swine flu. Dr. Anne Schuchat from CDC said in a briefing “Some totally healthy people suffer this very rapid deterioration.”


Should I get flu shot?

I go through health forums regularly and this is one of the most asked questions.  CDC has given clear directions to go for swine flu vaccination. 


h1n1-vaccineIs swine flu vaccine safe?

There are a lot of questions around safety of swine flue vaccination.  I think one of the biggest road block that people have against visiting the clinics is due to the fact they believe that swine flu vaccine is not safe.  Although, the developmental cycle of swine flu vaccine has been fast (seems slow because of its shortage in market), but FDA has approved it and FDA has been pretty responsible regulatory body.  World health Organization (WHO) backs up safety of the current swine flu vaccines.  A report that summarizes results from study conducted on 39,000 patients in China, revealed that four cases with side effects of muscle cramps and headache. 


WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said that “The vaccine is the single most important tool that we have against influenza”.  NPR interviewed Anthony Fauci from The National Institutes of Health.  He said that, the swine flu vaccine “is made exactly the same way by the same manufacturers with the same processing, the same materials, as we make seasonal flu vaccine, which has an extraordinarily good safety record.”


Mr. Rob Stein, National Science Reporter, Washington Post told NPR that the CDC, all the major doctors’ groups – American Academy of Pediatrics -are all recommended that people get this vaccine. It’s a safe as any other seasonal vaccine you get any year.


pregnant-women-eatingDo I get swine flu if I am pregnant?  Is there any harm to my unborn baby?

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Health Commissioner, Los Angeles County told NPR that if you are pregnant, then you should definitely get swine flu shot.  He recommended that pregnant women should get shot rather than nasal spray (FluMist).  Shot has inactivated virus, but nasal spray has attenuated virus, which is a live virus.  Dr. Fielding...

said, although this live virus does not proliferate in the body, just in nose, but still he recommended shot to pregnant women. 


Should I get swine flu vaccine if I have or had swine flu?

Mr. Rob Stein, National Science Reporter, Washington Post told NPR official recommend taking swine flu shot even if you had swine flu.  It is possible that you may have immunity from exposure or getting sick, but get vaccinated to be on the safe side.


vaccination_illustrationDo I need a booster shot?

It is recommended that children at age 10 or less should get booster shot after they have been vaccinated with swine flu shot.  Booster shots are common for vaccines, but the good news is children older than 10 years and adults do not need booster shot.


swine-flu-vaccine-technologyWhy does the swine flu vaccine take so long to make?

Two main reasons: 1. current 50 year old technology involves preparing vaccine in eggs.  2. Testing of the vaccine for dosage is developed by FDA, which takes a long time too. I reported earlier new technologies for production of flu vaccine are being developed, which will reduce production time for the vaccine.


Should I cough and sneeze in tissue or in sleeve?

Coughing and sneezing in a tissue or sleeve is one of the basic etiquettes that you should integrate in your life style.  I liked this video from NPR that shows how





wash-handsShould I wash my hands regularly?

One of the biggest factors of infections is through touching the surfaces that are contaminated.  It is highly recommended that you should wash your hands with soap.  Also, you can use hand sanitizers. 


I wrote about hand sanitizers and basic safety tips for swine flu and would suggest that you go through it.  Simple tips, yet very useful. Keep yourself safe from swine flu and keep asking questions.


Healthy Living!



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