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Thoroughly tested, H1N1 vaccine is safe

By Staff | Nov 5, 2009

Absenteeism at schools across the state has reached record proportions; clinics and ERs are operating at maximum capacity in many cases.

As the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus spreads across Iowa, Emmet County residents are reminded of the importance of receiving the H1N1 vaccination as it becomes available.

“Because H1N1 vaccine supplies continue to be allocated on a staggered basis, Emmet County is following CDC guidelines for administering vaccine first to priority populations,” said Emmet County Public Health Director Kathy Preston. “In Emmet County, pregnant women, children six months to 4 years of age, health care workers with direct care, people who live with or care for children younger then six months of age are targeted to receive the H1N1 vaccine first.”

As the vaccine becomes more widely available, it will be offered to more residents of Emmet County.

“We want to stress the safety of this vaccine,” said Preston. “Whether you receive the injection or the nasal spray, both vaccines have been thoroughly tested.”

Both the injection and nasal spray provide protection against H1N1; the injectable vaccine contains ‘dead’ virus and the nasal spray is a ‘live’ virus vaccine.

Some people are hesitant to receive the nasal spray because they worry they will ‘catch’ H1N1 from the live vaccine. “We want to assure residents the nasal spray will not give you H1N1,” said Preston. “Some individuals report a day or so of a stuffy nose, sore throat, or other minor symptoms after receiving the nasal spray; however, these symptoms are nothing compared to how they would feel if they actually came down with H1N1 because they had not received the vaccine.”

Not everyone should receive the nasal vaccine; for example, pregnant women and healthy children 6 months of age up to 2 years of age should receive the flu shot. In the past, pregnant women have mistakenly received the nasal spray vaccine without any problems.

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.