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H1N1 vaccine as safe as any

By Staff | Oct 16, 2009

As the H1N1 influenza vaccine continues to arrive across Iowa, Emmet County Public Health officials remind residents the 2009 H1N1 vaccine is as safe as the seasonal influenza vaccine.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” said Kathy Preston, Emmet County Public Health Director. “The H1N1 vaccine is made by the same process, by the same companies, and tested in the same manner as the seasonal vaccine. There is no reason to believe there are any more risks associated with the H1N1 vaccine than the seasonal influenza vaccine.”

In a normal influenza season, the H1N1 vaccine would have been incorporated into the seasonal vaccine; however, because the seasonal vaccine was already in production when the H1N1 influenza was recognized, it was necessary for two vaccines to be created. Next year, the H1N1 strain will likely be included in the seasonal vaccination.

“The risks associated with not getting the H1N1 vaccine are far greater than the sore arm that may result from getting the shot,” said Preston. “This virus has the potential to cause serious illness and death. Receiving the vaccination is an effective way to help fight the spread of the virus.”

The seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine can be given at the same time, or at any time in regards to each, and in any sequence with one exception: if using the live nasal spray vaccine for BOTH the seasonal flu and H1N1, they should be given four weeks apart to ensure the best protection from both vaccines.

Since the vaccine is being allocated to states on a staggered basis over the coming weeks, it is important for residents to contact Emmet County Public Health or the department’s Web site at www.emmetcountyia.com for information about vaccine availability and vaccine clinic sites.

A statewide toll-free hotline has been established for public questions about seasonal and H1N1 influenza at 1-800-447-1985. More information can also be found at www.idph.state.ia.us.