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Swine Flu Vaccine: Parents Still Unsure of Its Safety

By Rachel Stockton

Although Americans’ anxiety over the swine flu is increasing, a recent poll taken by the Washington Post-ABC News regarding the number of parents who plan on having their children immunized doesn’t necessarily reflect this.  52% of adults say they’re either worried either a great deal or somewhat when it comes to the swine flu.  This is a substantial increase over an August poll that showed 39% of us were worried.

Broken down demographically, the greatest increase in consternation over the H1N1 virus is among young adults from 18-29 years of age.  In August, 26% of them worried over the flu, but the latest poll shows that 47% are concerned.

This is likely due to the fact that the swine flu seems to be hitting young adults especially hard.  CNN is reporting that some researchers believe that this is because older Americans became immune to the swine flu after it made the rounds several decades ago.  Other health care professionals believe it’s because the stronger the immune system, the more vehemently the virus will be attacked.  In some cases, this can result in a cytokine storm; a phenomenon that occurs when the immune system sends too many antibodies to fight the battle all at once.

Conversely, however, the Washington Post poll is showing that only half (52%) of parents of young children intend to have their children vaccinated.  2/3 of these parents are confident the swine flu vaccine is safe, but only 22% are VERY confident of its non-toxicity.

In other swine flu news this week:

*NPR is reporting that the reason for the vaccine shortage is that drug manufacturers expected the virus to grow faster in the lab than it did, causing the vast over estimate of how many vaccines would be distributed each week.

*According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who have had the swine flu virus may still be contagious for over 24 hours after their fever drops.  This contradicts the CDCs announcement that as long as there is no fever, there is no contagion.