Has the H1N1 vaccine been tested?

There has been more testing done on the H1N1 vaccine than for the seasonal flu. Because the H1N1 vaccine is produced exactly like the seasonal flu vaccine produced every year, no additional testing is needed, but there were clinical trials to determine the appropriate dose. There is also now substantial experience from other countries - experience that is not usually available for U.S. seasonal flu vaccines. According to a report in the New York Times:

Of the first 39,000 Chinese to get shots, only four had side effects, including muscle cramps and headaches. “You could argue that this is better tested than seasonal flu vaccine,” said Dr. Paul A. Offit, chief of infectious diseases for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (ref #4)

What's the difference between the injected H1N1 vaccine and the nasal H1N1 vaccine?

The injected vaccine and the nasal vaccine are quite different. In addition to being delivered differently, they are made differently.

The injected vaccine is made with dead viruses, broken up and purified into parts (the "chicken nuggets" of the vaccine world). The nasal vaccine is made with live, but weakened (attenuated) viruses. So while non-immunocompromised people can take either vaccine, anyone with an immune system problem should NOT take the nasal vaccine. (Ref. #2)

Is there anything else I should know about the vaccine?

Talk to your physician about the vaccine and swine flu if you have any questions. This FAQ is just an introduction to the H1N1 vaccine - it is not meant to be a complete discussion of the swine flu or the H1N1 vaccine.

Are physicians giving their children the swine flu vaccine?

Like the general population, moms and dads who are physicans are debating whether they should give their children the vaccine. The majority of physicians who responded to our inquiry (will doctor's vaccinate their children for H1N1?) said they would give their children the vaccine. For some this was urgent - they wanted to get the vaccine to their kids ASAP. A few even said they wouldn't vaccinate their kids. For others it was not an urgent issue - they got on their pediatrician's list for the vaccine and will take their kids when convenient.

References

1. CNN: H1N1 kids flood hospitals.

2. CDC: General Questions and Answers on 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Safety.

3. CDC: General Questions and Answers on Thimerosal.

4. As Flu Vaccine Arrives for the Season, Some Questions and Answers.

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