Sunday, December 20, 2009

Flu Vaccination


Will the vaccine for 2009 H1N1 flu (also called "swine flu") be the same vaccine in 2010?

Yes, the vaccine for 2009 H1N1 flu will be the same for the entire 2009-2010 influenza season, which extends into the spring of 2010. The "2009" in the name only relates to the year the virus was first identified; it does not have to do with how long the vaccine will work or the year in which it should be administered. The 2009 H1N1 strain is not included in the 2009-2010 seasonal flu vaccine because it was identified after manufacturers had started making the seasonal flu vaccine.

Who will be recommended to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine?

Vaccine to protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu virus is available; however, initial supplies are limited. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that certain groups of the population receive the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine first. These target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, infants 6 months through young adults 24 years of age (especially children younger than 5 years of age), and adults 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 complications because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
The committee further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these target groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. Current studies indicate the risk for infection among people age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore, as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over the age of 65.

How many doses of vaccine are required?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of one dose of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for people 10 years of age and older. For children younger than 10 years of age, two doses of the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is needed. This is slightly different from CDC’s recommendations for seasonal influenza vaccination which states that children younger than 9 who are being vaccinated against influenza for the first time need to receive two doses. Infants younger than 6 months of age are too young to get the 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines.

What is the recommended interval between the first and second dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine for children younger than 10 years of age?

CDC recommends that the two doses of 2009 H1N1 vaccine be separated by 4 weeks. However, if the second dose is separated from the first dose by at least 21 days, the second dose can be considered valid.

Can people who are allergic to eggs receive the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine?

People who are allergic to eggs might be at risk for allergic reactions from receiving influenza vaccines, including the 2009 H1N1 vaccine. People who have had any of the following symptoms or experiences should consult with a doctor or other medical professional before considering any influenza vaccination:
  • hives or swelling of the lips or tongue
  • acute respiratory distress (trouble breathing) after eating eggs
  • documented hypersensitivity to eggs, including those who have had asthma related to egg exposure at their workplace or other allergic responses to egg protein
Because children with severe asthma are at high risk of serious complications from influenza, a regimen has been developed for giving influenza vaccine to children with severe asthma and egg hypersensitivity

Does the seasonal flu vaccine also protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu?

The seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you against 2009 H1N1 flu.

(Source:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention)