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H1N1 swine flu symptoms are still brutal, but vaccine supply has improved

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We waited. And waited. We watched those around us get sick. Emergency rooms were overflowing.

It was just a few weeks ago that we all went through a bit of a panic together. H1N1 flu shots were in shorter supply than had been promised, and they were being rationed out to those most at risk: children, pregnant women and people with medical conditions.

People who did get the flu were very sick; many ended up with pneumonia, and some died. No flu is fun and games, but this one seemed particularly brutal.

Now, the shots are plentiful, and we’re not in line. While numbers of reported cases of the swine flu are dropping, our most traditional flu season is just around the corner.

"We have a chance to lessen the impact or even prevent a third wave, and we need to seize that opportunity right now," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

A CDC survey done in the second week of December found that about 46 million people had received the pandemic vaccine, The Washington Post reports. About 40 percent were children -- a much higher percentage than in usual flu seasons, when the primary target is elderly people. More from The Post:

“Speaking to reporters, Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, urged people to get vaccinated even though the flu outbreak is waning in many places.

"There are a lot of unknowns, but the one thing we do know is that getting vaccinated will reduce the chance of you getting sick, and reduce the chance of the country going through a third wave" of H1N1 spread, she said.”

There have been two recalls of swine flu vaccine, for doses that were determined to not be as potent as they should be. The latest was Tuesday, when AstraZeneca voluntarily recalled some of its vaccine.
Last week, Sanofi-Aventis SA recalled 800,000 doses of its pediatric vaccine.

From Reuters:

Add a Comment2 Comments


So sorry your son had the flu!!! But I'm so glad it didn't run rampant through the household -- it could have been one of those cases where everyone was sick like dominoes, one at a time!!!

It's a peculiar flu. My sister got it early on (she's a nurse), but none of her four children did. Later, they all got swine flu shots, so they should be covered.

Now let's all cross our fingers that January and February are mild in terms of flu outbreaks, especially since interest in the vaccinations has waned.

December 24, 2009 - 10:06am
HERWriter Guide

Hi Diane

Our five year old had H1N1 recently (along with strep throat and a doozy of an ear infection, can you imagine?) - none of us were vaccinated against H1N1 and the strep and ear infection were worse for him than the H1N1. Our little girls never got so much of a sniffle and we're scratching our heads at how only one of us was affected but we're very grateful. All of our kids had the regular flu shot, but his pediatrician said 99% of flus right now in our area are H1N1. He is fine now, thank goodness so Christmas will be a great one!

The recalls are a bit of a puzzle too - they are being recalled due to a possible lack of effectiveness but we're told if our kids got those shots, they are covered. This makes no sense to me and reinforces my reluctance to always go ahead and take whatever vax we're told needs to be taken.

Thanks for this share, it's important we're up to date on what's going on with this flu season.

December 23, 2009 - 8:24am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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