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H1N1 Vaccine (Tamiflu) - How to protect yourself from the Swine Flu

Thursday, April 30, 2009

As the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is a new virus, there is no swine flu vaccine available to prevent infections.

And unfortunately, the seasonal flu vaccine that many of us received will not provide any protection against the swine flu virus.

Experts are already working on a swine flu vaccine though.

Swine Flu Vaccine

It is estimated that the swine flu vaccine won't be ready until sometime around September to November. In addition to the time required to actually make a new vaccine, the likely need to make seasonal flu vaccine for next year may delay things a little.

Can the swine flu vaccine be combined with the seasonal flu vaccine? Probably not, as vaccine companies will be done making seasonal flu vaccine by early summer, well before they can likely even get started on the swine flu vaccine.

Once the swine flu is ready, who will get it?

As was planned for other pandemics, swine flu vaccine will likely be given out based on specific categories and priority levels and the severity of the pandemic.

At first, swine flu vaccination would be 'targeted to protect workers with critical skills, experience, or licensure status whose absence would create bottlenecks or collapse of critical functions, and to protect workers who are at especially high occupational risk.'

What about children?

In general, children are considered to be in a priority group for getting swine flu vaccine:

  • Infants & toddlers 6 to 35 mo old - Tier 1
  • Household contacts of infants less than 6 mo - Tier 2
  • Children 3 to 18 yrs with high risk conditions - Tier 2
  • Children 3 to 18 yrs without high risk conditions - Tier 2 (Moderate Pandemic)
  • Children 3 to 18 yrs without high risk conditions - Tier 3 (Severe and Less Severe Pandemic)

To get the first three tiers of people vaccinated is estimated to require about 104 million doses of swine flu vaccine.