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Most parents don't want their kids to receive swine flu vaccine

Sunday Sept 27, 2009 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new survey reported by Los Angeles Times finds that the majority of U.S. parents do not want their kids to receive the swine flu, or H1N1, vaccine this fall and winter.

The government has said time and again that swine flu will come back with a vengeance this fall; the feds have pushed hard to increase the vaccination rate in schoolchildren, as they said this age group is at higher risk of serious complications.

The poll finds that most of 1,678 parents surveyed by researchers at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital are concerned about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine.

Additionally, many parents believe that the risk of the so called novel, H1N1 virus is no riskier than seasonal flu, which with its complications the federal government has stated kills about 30,000 a year. Critics say most deaths are from pneumonia, not the seasonal flu itself.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has no idea exactly how many people have died from H1N1. But the agency predicted early on that more people would die from H1N1 than from seasonal flu.

The poll results show that 40 percent of polled parents would get their children immunized against the H1n1 virus, and 54 percent said they would get their kids vaccinated against seasonal flu.

Among those who refused to have their children vaccinated against H1N1, 46 percent said they are not worried about their children getting sick with the pandemic virus and 20 percent did not believe the H1N1 flu is a serious disease.

In comparison, more than half of Latino parents would like their kids to be vaccinated against H1N1, compared to 38 percent of Caucasian parents and 30 percent African American parents.

Some observations have suggested that deaths from H1N1 have occurred in children with certain brain conditions or lack of sufficient vitamin D.

About half of the parents who said they'd pass on the H1N1 flu vaccine for their kids expressed concern about possible adverse effects of the vaccine.

The U.S. government has said, loud and clear, that the best defense against the swine flu is the H1N1 vaccine, although it also recommends hand washing as an effective way to prevent spreading the virus.

Dr. Matthew Davis, the poll director, was cited as saying in a statement that public health officials who want to raise the vaccination rate need to communicate clearly to parents that children are at relatively greater risk of becoming seriously ill with theH1n1.

But, again it is uncertain how many of the informed parents would pay heed to the statement by the federal government.

By David Liu - davidl at foodconsumer dot org, edited by Rachel Stockton - rachels at foodconsumer dot org


The following is cited from the CDC

Questions & Answers

2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine

September 24, 2009, 10:30 AM ET

What are the plans for developing 2009 H1N1 vaccine?

Vaccines are the most powerful public health tool for control of influenza, and the U.S. government is working closely with manufacturers to take steps in the process to manufacture a 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Working together with scientists in the public and private sector, CDC has isolated the new H1N1 virus and modified the virus so that it can be used to make hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine. Vaccine manufacturers are now using these materials to begin vaccine production. Making vaccine is a multi-step process which takes several months to complete.  Candidate vaccines will be tested in clinical trials over the few months. 

When is it expected that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will be available?

The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available in the fall. More specific dates cannot be provided at this time as vaccine availability depends on several factors including manufacturing time and time needed to conduct clinical trials

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

The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu.

Can the seasonal vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 vaccine be given at the same time?

It is anticipated that seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 vaccines may be administered on the same day. However, we expect the seasonal vaccine to be available earlier than the H1N1 vaccine. The usual seasonal influenza viruses are still expected to cause illness this fall and winter. Individuals are encouraged to get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it is available.

Who will be recommended to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine?

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that certain groups of the population receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes available. These target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

We do not expect that there will be a shortage of 2009 H1N1 vaccine, but availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children 6 months through 4 years of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

The committee recognized the need to assess supply and demand issues at the local level. 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 persons 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.

Do those that have been previously vaccinated against the 1976 swine influenza need to get vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 influenza?

The 1976 swine flu virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus are different enough that its unlikely a person vaccinated in 1976 will have full protection from the 2009 H1N1. People vaccinated in 1976 should still be given the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

Where will the vaccine be available?

Every state is developing a vaccine delivery plan. Vaccine will be available in a combination of settings such as vaccination clinics organized by local health departments, healthcare provider offices, schools, and other private settings, such as pharmacies and workplaces. For more information, see State/Jurisdiction Contact Information for Health Care Providers Interested in Providing H1N1 Vaccine.

Will this vaccine be made differently than the seasonal influenza vaccine?

No. This vaccine will be made using the same processes and facilities that are used to make the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines.

Are there other ways to prevent the spread of illness?

Take everyday actions to stay healthy.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.*
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Follow public health advice
regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures. These measures will continue to be important after a 2009 H1N1 vaccine is available because they can prevent the spread of other viruses that cause respiratory infections.

What about the use of antivirals to treat 2009 H1N1 infection?

CDC has issued interim guidance for the use of antiviral drugs for this season. CDC also has published Questions & Answers related to the use of antiviral drugs for this season.

Will two doses of vaccine be required?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of one dose of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for persons 10 years of age and older. Data from trials among children are not available at this time, so dosing schedules for children are not yet known. Data from trials among children will be available soon. At this time, FDA has approved two doses for children 6 months through 9 years of age. Immunogenicity data for the 2009 flu H1N1 vaccine among adults is similar to that for seasonal influenza vaccines. If this is also the case among children, then it is likely that younger children will require two doses and older children will require one dose. As with seasonal vaccine, children 6 months through 35 months of age should get two doses of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, which contains one-half of the dose used for older children and adults.

What will be the recommended interval between the first and second dose for children 9 years of age and under?

This will not be known until clinical trials are complete. For planning purposes, planners should assume 21-28 days between the first and second vaccination.

Can seasonal vaccine and novel H1N1 vaccine be administered at the same time?

Inactivated 2009 H1N1 vaccine can be administered at the same visit as any other vaccine, including pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Live 2009 H1N1 vaccine can be administered at the same visit as any other live or inactivated vaccine EXCEPT seasonal live attenuated influenza vaccine