Swine Flu Vaccine Side Effects

After 24-year-old Carl checked a few sites on his computer, he changed his plans to get a swine flu vaccination. The Virginia graduate student decided not to show up at the student health clinic for a free immunization after reading about the vaccine’s potential side effects.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), because of his age, the other-wise healthy Carl was in a target group to get one of two 2009 vaccines for the swine flu – or H1N1 – virus.

MedLine Plus reports that the Federal government initially set up five trials, starting in August, to try to determine the safety of the swine flu vaccine. Results from the first trial among adults suggested the vaccine was safe and had no serious side effects, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Types of Vaccine

The U.S. government issued contracts for the manufacture of two types of swine flu vaccine for 2009. Neither is intended as protection against seasonal influenza, however.

The “killed” vaccine consists of an inactive virus administered by needle, usually in the patient’s arm. The second type, an H1N1 nasal spray, is manufactured using live but weakened viruses.

Approximately 14 days after it’s administered, the vaccine provides protection against swine flu.

Possible Side Effects

While the CDC considers both types of vaccines safe, the agency expects rare occurrences of certain side effects. Many of them should resemble those experienced after getting a seasonal flu shot.

Individuals who get the swine flu vaccine via injection might experience minor side effects soon after the inoculation. They typically last a day or two. The potential side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling at the site of the injection. Patients have also reported low-grade fever, aches, and nausea. While unusual, severe allergic reactions can occur.

The live nasal spray vaccine is also known as LAIV. It’s made with weakened viruses not intended to cause symptoms anywhere near as severe as those experienced after contracting swine flu.

However, children can experience a number of side effects. Among them are a runny nose, wheezing, and a headache. Some also suffer from vomiting, muscle aches, and fever.

Adults who have received LAIV have reported experiencing coughs, sore throats, headaches, and runny noses.

Federal Oversight

The CDC and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) have been tasked with monitoring the safety of vaccines approved for use in this country. The CDC states that individuals who have a life-threatening allergy to chicken eggs or any other substance used in a swine flu vaccination should not receive the immunization.

While vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent infection by and complications from swine flu, the CDC stresses that these vaccines don’t protect against any other illnesses. Therefore, individuals who have been vaccinated should still use standard preventive measures against respiratory illnesses. Examples are washing hands well and often, covering any coughs or sneezes, and staying home when ill.

The Federal government has set up a program to assist with the cost of expenses linked to a serious reaction from a swine flu vaccination. Information is available at 1-888-275-4772 or by visiting this site.


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