04 H1N1 Flu Vaccine FAQs (General Information)
Both vaccines are made the same way. The difference is that the H1N1 flu vaccine is a different flu virus strain that’s not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. That means that if you get a regular (seasonal) flu shot, you will not be protected against the H1N1 flu virus. And, the H1N1 flu vaccine also cannot protect your against the regular seasonal flu virus. To be safe from flu, most people will need to get both vaccines.
Five manufacturers are producing vaccine for the U.S.: Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis, GSK, Medimmune, and CSL. Currently, four of the H1N1 vaccine manufacturers have been licensed for distribution in the U.S. by the FDA. The H1N1 vaccines from one of the manufacturers is still awaiting FDA approval. The five manufacturers are the same manufacturers who produce the seasonal flu vaccine.
At this time, none of the H1N1 vaccine is adjuvanted. It is anticipated that all U.S. supplied vaccine will not contain adjuvant. The best place to look for updates is at http://www.Flu.Gov.
A vaccine adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to improve the immune response so that less vaccine is needed. At this time, none of the H1N1 vaccine is adjuvanted. It is anticipated that all U.S. supplied vaccine will NOT contain adjuvant. The best place to look for updates is at http://www.Flu.Gov.
The flu shot is made from a killed influenza virus. The nasal spray vaccine (often called FluMist) is made from a weakened live flu virus. Both vaccines have been shown to be very safe and effective. The main difference is that FluMist can only be given to healthy children and adults aged 2 to 49 years old who do not have chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma. It should also not be given to pregnant women.
Flu shots by injection may be given to children, adults and seniors, or pregnant women. Any doctor or clinic administering flu vaccines can tell you if there are any special restrictions by age or medical condition.
Adults and children 10 and over will need only one dose of H1N1 vaccine. Children younger than 10 years old are expected to need two doses. It is recommended that the two H1N1 vaccine doses are given 4 weeks apart. If the two doses are given less than 4 weeks but at least 21 days apart, the second doses does not need to be repeated. The most up-to-date recommendations should be posted on http://www.flu.gov.
The H1N1 flu vaccine will be available both with and without thimerosal. The single pre-filled syringes are typically thimerosal-free. Thimerosal free vaccines should be prioritized for pregnant women and children under age 3. Currently, there is a limited supply of thimerosal-containing vaccine.
If you are interested in getting a vaccine without thimerosal, ask your doctor. Thimerosal-free vaccine may be more plentiful in the coming weeks.
Since 2006, California law [Health and Safety Code Section 124172] has stated that vaccines containing specific levels of mercury cannot be administered to pregnant women and young children, except under certain circumstances. The Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency has granted an exemption to permit use of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine regardless of preservative content in children younger than 3 years of age and pregnant women. The exception is being granted because of the present dangers posed by pandemic (H1N1) influenza and because there are insufficient supplies of thimerosal-free influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent influenza vaccine to comply with the law.
Vaccine supplies and distribution will continue to be assessed to determine whether an extension of the exemption will be needed to protect Californians against pandemic (H1N1) influenza. In accordance with the intent of the law, during this exemption period immunizers should prioritize supplies of thimerosal-free vaccine to young children and pregnant women as long as prioritization does not prevent the immunization of others. Based on current and projected supplies, there is not an exemption at this time for seasonal influenza vaccine.
For the most part, yes. The most current recommendations allow:
the injectable seasonal vaccine and the injectable H1N1 vaccines to be given at the same visit
the nasal spray vaccine and injectable vaccine at the same visit
It is NOT recommended to get 2 nasal spray vaccines during the same visit. If either seasonal flu or H1N1 nasal spray vaccine is given, then you will need to wait two weeks before getting the other nasal spray vaccine. The most up-to-date recommendations are posted on http://www.flu.gov.
If two doses are needed for children under 10, it is recommended to wait about 3 to 4 weeks between the first and second vaccination. If the interval was less than 4 weeks but at least 21 days, neither dose needs to be repeated.
There are a number of free flu materials and handouts available. You can access them and download them at the following links:
The most up-to-date information about H1N1 can be found at www.flu.gov . Other useful websites are CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/, http://answers.flu.gov/, and the CDPH website www.cdph.ca.gov.
Live attenuated influenza (flu) virus (LAIV) is 1 of 2 types of flu vaccine. It's given as a nasal spray and contains weakened, live virus. Antiviral drugs (drugs that fight viruses) taken from 48 hours before through 2 weeks after getting LAIV can lower or prevent the vaccinated person from responding to the vaccine. This means the person may not get immune (body defense) protection from the vaccine. Antiviral drugs can be taken with the inactivated (i.e., killed) flu vaccine (shot).
The H1N1 vaccine should protect people for up to one year based on the current dose recommendations. Those recommendations are six months through nine years old to receive two doses, 10 years of age and older to receive one dose.
In Fall 2010, the seasonal flu vaccine will include the H1N1 strain which will extend the protection of the initial H1N1 vaccine. Anybody seeking protection from influenza will be to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine in Fall 2010.
California Department of Public Health, Office of Public Affairs