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H1N1 Vaccine: When is the best time?

Flu, although most are mild and only last couple of days, is a serious disease and should not be dismissed since some can be deadly. The H1N1 virus that has affected the world since 2009 has been a wake up call for many.

The pandemic H1N1 is an influenza virus that has never been identified in humans before. Studies show that the virus originated from animal influenza viruses and is separate from the human seasonal H1N1 viruses. Since the outbreaks in North America in April 2009, the H1N1 virus has spread rapidly. Here are some statistics on H1N1 virus:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were a total of 44,640 cases and 10,837 deaths in the United States alone.
  • The top three most infected states were Wisconsin (6222 cases), Texas (5151 cases), and Illinois (3404 cases) respectively.
  • The H1N1 virus led to over 260,000 hospitalizations in the United States.
  • The total count worldwide is 1,483,520 cases.
  • The top three most infected countries were Germany (222,006 cases), Portugal (166,922 cases), and China (120,940 cases) respectively.

News on H1N1 Vaccine

Therefore, it is important to take appropriate measures to protect yourself against the H1N1 virus. This past February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee has recommended that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine be included in the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine starting this fall. This means that the traditional one flu vaccine per each year will protect you against the H1N1 virus as well as other seasonal viruses. In response to the upcoming change in the seasonal vaccine, the number of distribution depots and on hand inventory has been reduced in the U.S. since the beginning of April 1, 2010.

Measures You Can Take Now

However, you can still receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Immunization is recommended for those who have not received the influenza vaccine since H1N1 continues to circulate and another sharp increase in affected patients could happen. You can find a flu shot near you by clicking here.

Precautions to the Vaccine

If you are considering a H1N1 vaccine, similar precautions are needed as a seasonal flu vaccine. For instance, people who are allergic to eggs are at risk for allergic reactions from any influenza vaccine. Consult your doctor before receiving any influenza vaccine if you are allergic to eggs.

Moreover, children who are 6 months through 9 years of age need two doses of the vaccine. The FDA recommends a 4-week separation between the two dosages. However, as long as the second dose is received 21 days after the first dose, it can be considered valid. This two-dosage recommendation for children is only applicable for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine and for the child’s first seasonal vaccine. Also, the 2009 H1N1 nasal-spray flue vaccine is an alternative means of protection to the vaccine shots. Unlike the shots that contain an inactivated H1N1 vaccine, the nasal spray has a weakened H1N1 virus that cannot grow at normal body temperature.

The CDC recommends people to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine while the demand is not high.

Protection Against 2009 H1N1 To Be Included in 2010-2011 Seasonal Flu Vaccine
Flu shots near you: Vaccination Locator

Changes to the 2009 H1N1 Vaccine and Supply Distribution Effective April 1, 2010

What is the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus?

1. Background and prevalence of H1N1 Vaccine in the U.S.

2. Current news on the vaccine: combined into seasonal flu (available by fall of 2010).
     2a. directions/cautions on seasonal flu (age groups etc)

3. What measures you can take today still (give link to stations near you).

4. Cautions: allergies to egg, have other symptoms (ie. Fibromyalgia)