Swine flu vaccine shows no adverse effects
By Tom Corwin
Saturday, August 22, 2009
While testing continues on a vaccine against the novel influenza A H1N1 vaccine, the vaccine has not produced any significant adverse events in adults, federal health officials said Friday.
"There are no red flags regarding safety," said Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The clinical trials began in older adults Aug. 7 and because there were no significant events, testing began in children ages 6 months to 17 years old this week. First dose results are expected in mid-September and second dose results are expected in mid-October from the older adults, Dr. Fauci said.
Between 45 and 52 million doses of the novel H1N1 vaccine will be available by mid-October and will be distributed to states based on population, said Jay Butler, the director of H1N1 Vaccine Task Force at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More of the vaccine is expected to come in on a weekly basis and the federal government expects to get 195 million doses by the end of the year, Dr. Butler said.
The novel H1N1 vaccine is being distributed through the Vaccine For Children program by the states and is targeting vaccination in five primary groups:
- Pregnant women
- Those who live with an infant younger than 6 months (which is too young to vaccinate)
- Health care workers and emergency medical services personnel
- Those 6 months to 24 years old
- Adults with underlying health problems that put them at greater risk for complications from flu, such as diabetes or lung disease
To date, 7,963 people have been hospitalized and 522 have died from lab-confirmed cases of the new virus, Dr. Butler said.About 75 percent of the hospitalizations and 60 percent of the deaths have been in people younger than 49, he said.
"It's important to keep in mind that these numbers radically underestimate the number of cases that actually occur, because many cases go without testing, and in many areas, there is not routine testing of people who are not sick enough to require hospitalization," Dr. Butler said. He did not offer a new estimate but said the cases likely exceed the 1 million estimated earlier this year.
The vaccine against the new virus is important but so are other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette and staying home if sick, Dr. Butler said."We can't stop the tide of flu any more than we can turn a hurricane in its course or stop the earth shaking during an earthquake, but we can mitigate the effects and help prevent people from becoming severely ill by preparing well and acting effectively," he said.
Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 (706) 823-3213 or email@example.com.
There is a still a chance for infants and the elderly to participate in clinical trials at Emory University of the novel influenza A H1N1 vaccine. Emory is one of eight centers in the country helping to test the vaccine against the new virus and is looking at the optimal way to give the new vaccine in conjunction with the seasonal flu vaccine, either before, with or after the seasonal flu shot. Emory is still looking for volunteers ages 6 months to 36 months and those 65 and older.For more information about the H1N1 vaccine trials at Emory, call (877) 424-HOPE (877) 424-HOPE (4673) for the senior studies.
Or call (404) 727-4044 (404) 727-4044 for the pediatric studies, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org