Cristi DeMarco’s Wellness Weblog

Health Info You Should Know.

H1N1 Flu Vaccine

Many people have asked for my opinion on whether or not they, or their children, or a pregnant woman they know, should get vaccinated for the H1N1 influenza virus.  My usual response has been that I know better than to opine on this one and something about a 10 foot pole.

So opinions aside, I do always believe in sharing information. Good, reliable, referenceable information.  I also like to make up words sometimes, like referenceable.  Anyway,  please copy and paste the link above for information on the four available swine flu vaccines.  The ingredients of each vaccine are listed along with the recommended dosages for different age groups, the efficacy of the vaccines, and any known side effects.  This information has been compiled from the insanely long, technical, and finely printed package inserts for the vaccines.

MedImmune is not approved for children under 2 years or adults over 50 and not recommended for pregnant women though it is intranasal and therefore does not contain mercury. Novartis is not recommended for children under 4 years old. Sanofi-Pasteur is not approved for children under 5 months old, but prefilled pediatric syringes and single-dose vials are mercury-free.  CSL Biotherapies, Inc. is not approved for anyone under 18 years old.

For parents of young children, you would want to ask your pediatrician if the vaccine they have is from Sanofi-Pasteur and if your child is receiving a mercury-free vaccine.  The availability of the vaccine is limited, so don’t assume that these conditions are being met.  Again, you will have to form your own opinion about the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal and weigh the risk/benefit for your child.

Also of note is the information on the efficacy of the vaccine.  Under optimum conditions, 50% of people vaccinated will be protected from the influenza virus so overall less than half of people vaccinated will be protected from the virus.  Again this information comes from the package inserts for the four different approved vaccines and can be linked to from the article.

In the meantime, coughing or sneezing into your armpit now looks cool.  Since you can’t actually touch a door with your hands, letting it slam in someone’s face behind you is perfectly acceptable.  And you should have been washing your hands with soap anyway.  Especially before sticking your fingers in babies’ mouths, playing with small children, or invading the personal space of a pregnant woman.


November 10, 2009 Posted by | health info you should know, self-care | , , | Leave a comment