An early shipment of vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 flu (swine flu) arrived at the county health department on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Quantities are limited in this first shipment of vaccine, so the vaccine has only been sent to public health clinics. This first shipment is the live virus nasal spray and is being targeted for healthy children aged 2-4 years.
Children in this age range will require two doses of the vaccine at least four weeks apart. More vaccine is expected to arrive in the next few weeks, including the inactivated injectable form.
Officials point out that you cannot get the flu by taking this vaccine. The nasal spray vaccine sometimes produces mild side effects. The most common side effects are runny nose, wheezing, nasal congestion and fever. These are rare and less severe than any problems created by actually having the flu.
The nasal spray vaccine should not be given to the following:
•Children who are receiving treatments containing aspirin.
•Children with a sensitivity to eggs, egg proteins, gentamicin, gelatin or arginine or have had life-threatening reactions to previous influenza vaccinations.
•Children that are younger than 2-years-old.
•Children with asthma or children less than 4-years-old with recurrent wheezing.
•Children with health problems that predispose them to complications from flu.
•Children that have a muscle, nerve or seizure disorder that could lead to breathing or swallowing problems.
•Children that have a weakened immune system.
The 2009 H1N1 vaccine will not protect you from the seasonal flu. People should get both kinds of flu vaccine to protect themselves from getting sick this season. Vaccine availability may vary by area. Call a local Health Department for specific information about when the vaccine will be given.
For more information, contact the health department.