CDC downplays risk of swine flu vaccine

A girl received the H1N1 nasal mist vaccine at Wake County Human Services in Raleigh, N.C. A girl received the H1N1 nasal mist vaccine at Wake County Human Services in Raleigh, N.C. (Jim R. Bounds/ Bloomberg)
Associated Press / October 12, 2009

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WASHINGTON - A top US health official sought to assure the public yesterday that the risks from not getting the swine flu vaccine are greater than any potential risks associated with the vaccine.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she is surprised by the amount of confusion and fear about the new vaccine. She said that past vaccines have had a good safety record, and that this bodes well for the swine flu vaccine now becoming available.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,’’ Schuchat said there is no problem associated with getting shots for both the swine flu and seasonal flu on the same day. But health officials recommend a three-week period between receiving the nasal versions of the vaccines.

Vaccines remain the best way to protect children and adults from both strains of flu, Schuchat said.

The two strains of influenza are expected to circulate across the country this month, CDC officials have said. They require separate vaccinations.

Vaccine manufacturers are expected to produce 114 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine this year. About 77 million doses have already shipped nationwide, more than ever before at this time of year, the CDC said. But many doctors and hospitals have reported delays in getting the vaccine.

The first doses of vaccine for swine flu, also known as H1N1, were given to health care workers and children last Thursday. About 6.8 million doses are available for ordering, and by last week orders had been placed for 3.7 million.

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