The annual flu vaccine is recommended for children six months of age and older. We know that the flu shot not only prevents colds and other infections (like ear infections), but now it has been shown to reduce visits to the emergency room (ER). Continue reading
MedPage Today reported, “Having an egg allergy is no longer a contraindication to influenza vaccination, according to new guidance for the upcoming flu season from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.” Under the new ACIP recommendation, “individuals with a history of allergic reactions to eating egg can receive the vaccine, with certain conditions.” Continue reading
It’s time for your influenza vaccine. This week I’ll be sharing a number of blogs on the flu vaccine, especially for healthcare professionals, children, and pregnant women. Today we’ll start with an overview of this year’s recommendations. Although the influenza strains included in the upcoming season’s flu vaccine are unchanged from last season, the CDC is still recommending that EVERYONE older than 6 months get vaccinated this year. Continue reading
An across the street neighbor was complaining the other day that her daughter and son-in-law in southern California were not going to let them visit their new grandbaby until they both had their influenza and pertussis vaccines. My comment, “Good for them!”
Our neighbor seemed surprised. I said, “The kids are building a cocoon of protection for their baby. Since a baby cannot get the influenza vaccine until after six months of age, and since a child younger than six months of age is at risk for pertussis, or whooping cough, and several babies have died of it this year, they are making a wise decision for their family.”
The neighbor seemed perturbed by my response … but, my bet is she and her husband will be immunized. And, they should be.
Now, the Los Angeles Times reports in its LA Now blog, “Senior citizens should be vaccinated against whooping cough if they expect to be in contact with newborn infants, a federal health committee in Atlanta said Wednesday.”
Notably, the “vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at” the CDC “largely endorsed what California health officials have been saying since the summer: People 65 and older should get the Tdap shot, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.”
The AP says, “The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices gave the advice Wednesday because of an outbreak of whooping cough this year in California, where more than 6,200 cases have been reported.” Notably, “nine of the 10 infants who have died were too young to be fully vaccinated against the disease.
So, if you’ve not had your influenza immunization this year, or a Tdap immunization, now’s the time.
According to a report in HealthDay News, all children and adolescents 6 months of age and older should receive the annual trivalent influenza vaccine this flu season. The updated recommendations are from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The AAP also says special efforts should be made to immunize anyone who falls into the following categories:
- all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children younger than 5 years of age;
- children with high-risk conditions such as asthma, diabetes and neurological disorders;
- health care workers; and
- pregnant women.
These groups are most vulnerable to flu-related complications, the academy pointed out in a news release.
Two influenza vaccines were recommended last year but only one trivalent vaccine is being made for the 2010-11 seasonal influenza vaccine schedule.
In this year’s trivalent vaccine, the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) strain has replaced last year’s influenza A (H1N1) strain. The new vaccine also includes two other strains of flu virus.
The seasonal flu vaccine policy statement was just released online and will be published in the October print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Other recommendations included in the policy statement are as follows:
- Children younger than 6 months of age should not receive influenza vaccine because they are too young.
- For children 9 years of age and older, only one dose is needed.
- For children younger than 9 years but older than 6 months, a minimum of two doses of 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine is needed. If they already received the H1N1 vaccine during last year’s flu season, one dose of vaccine is needed this year, otherwise they will need two doses of seasonal influenza vaccine this year.
- Those under 9 years of age who have never received the seasonal flu vaccine before will need two doses this year.
- Children younger than 9 years who received seasonal flu vaccine last year for the first time, but only received one dose, should receive two doses this year.
- Also, those under 9 years who received a flu vaccine last year, but for whom it is unclear whether it was a seasonal flu vaccine or the H1N1 flu vaccine, should receive two doses this year.
All children who are recommended to get two doses this year should receive the second dose at least four weeks after the first dose.
For more information, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about seasonal flu and vaccination here.
As of 15 November 2009, the World Health Association (WHO) is reporting that worldwide more than 206 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 6770 deaths. So, the outlandish predictions that the Swine flu vaccine would cause illness and deaths appear to be false.
According to a Reuters report, The WHO is saying that the pandemic vaccine is as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine used for more than 60 years. “No new safety issue has been identified from reports issued to date … Reporting so far reconfirms that the pandemic flu vaccine is as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine,” Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s top vaccine expert, told a telephone conference.
Governments have so far reported that 65 million vaccine doses have been administered against H1N1, known as swine flu, in 16 countries, but the true figure is probably higher since immunization campaigns are under way in 40 countries, she said.
Side-effects commonly reported include swelling and redness or pain at the injection site, although some had fever or headache, and all symptoms usually disappear after 48 hours.
A “small number of deaths” had been reported, she said, and a WHO spokeswoman later put the figure at 41 in six countries. However, ” … the results of the completed investigations reported to WHO have ruled out that the pandemic vaccine is the cause of death,” Kieny said.
For the full WHO statement go here.
So, since the 2009 H1N1 seems to be waning (even though hospitalizations are still increasing), should you still get the vaccine? Absolutely!
Why? Simply because the illness is quite likely to come back in the spring and may (emphasize may) be worse then than it is now.
Also, don’t forget to get your seasonal flu vaccine. Not only does it protect you from three other common forms of the influenza virus that are circulating, it may offer some protection from the 2009 H1N1 Swine flu.
In one recent report, it was shown that getting a seasonal flu shot or sniff cut the risk of swine flu by 45%. It cut the risk of getting a normal case of swine flu by 42%, and cut the risk of being hospitalized with swine flu by 62%.
Here are some of my other blogs on the topic:
- Reason One to Get the Swine Flu Vaccine – It’s Safe and Effective
- Reason One to Get the Swine Flu Vaccine – It’s Safe and Effective
- Reason Two to Get the Swine Flu Vaccine – It Will Prevent Death
- Reason Three to Get the Swine Flu Vaccine – Previously healthy people are almost as likely to die from Swine flu
- Is the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine Safe? An Update
- Parents Unnecessarily Wary of 2009 H1N1 Vaccine for Children
- How to Tell the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu (or Swine or H1N1 influenza)
- What do I do if I think I have the 2009 H1N1 Swine flu?
- Are you sick and worried you have the H1N1 (Swine) Flu? This blog may save you a doctor’s visit.
- How to Catch the 2009 H1N1 (Swine) Flu
- Suplements for Colds or the Flu. What works? What does not?
- Does elderberry fruit extract block the influenza virus? It may!
- Handwashing to prevent the flu: What water temperature and how long?
I’m getting tons of emails and questions at the practice about the safety of the Swine flu vaccine (the Swine flu is now officially called the “2009 H1N1 influenza). Will it be safe? Will it cause cancer? Will it contain preservatives or adjuvants? One friend wrote: Are you taking it? Are you recommending it to your family. Here are my answers and the latest update: Continue reading
Fever, chills, vomiting . . . it may starts like a stomach bug or the flu. But bacterial meningitis can go on to kill amazingly fast. It is one of the few infections where someone can feel fine at bedtime and be dead by morning. And, the prime target might be your child. Continue reading
At my practice, patients are already asking about the safety of H1N1 (Swine) flu vaccine – event though it’s not likely to be out for a month or two. Here’s what I am telling them.
More Information: Continue reading
In my newest book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People, I teach people how to utilize these ten essentials that are necessary to live a happy and highly healthy life. Under The Essential of Self-Care, I’ve developed a list of what I call “The 10 Commandments of Preventive Medicine.” Here’s the first of what will be a ten-part series. Continue reading
There are fears among some parents that the current regimen of infant vaccinations involves too many vaccines too soon. Adding to these fears is Dr. Robert Sears, a pediatrician in Capistrano Beach, Calif., who in October 2007, published “The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child.” Included in Sears’ book was an alternative vaccine schedule that would allow parents to delay – and in some cases completely avoid – many vaccines for their children. Last Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued its updated childhood vaccination schedule, along with an article that deconstructs Sears’ popular and very controversial “delayed vaccine” schedule.
More Information: Continue reading
ABC News is reporting, that with flu season less than a month away, it isn’t too soon to take steps to protect yourself from influenza. And, since the flu can knock you out for a couple of weeks, catching it can be a setback. Simply watching out for co-workers who have it probably won’t be enough, as they can contract the flu and pass it along well before symptoms show up.
My Take? Continue reading