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: