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Dr Manny's Notes

Tracking H1N1 Vaccine Side Effects

There has been a lot of push back when it comes to the H1N1 flu vaccine. Of course, as with any medication, there could be side effects because not all immune systems are created equal.

But what people have to remember is their reasons for not supporting the vaccine - mainly because of the fear that it was rushed and long-term side effects are not yet known - are some of the same reasons preliminary reports of possible side effects could also be coincidental. For example, if someone has a heart attack after receiving their H1N1 flu shot, are they going to assume it's directly related to the vaccine or attribute it to unhealthy lifestyle decisions?

The Associated Press recently published an article on this topic that looked at how the government will be intensely tracking the side effects of this vaccine and separating legitimate medical concerns from inevitable coincidences.

This is a proactive plan. The government is going to be putting information together for the public in an effort to stop the spread of false rumors and try to put the public at ease.

One major focus will be miscarriage since they are encouraging pregnant women to get the vaccine and miscarriages are quite common anyway.

Like the seasonal influenza vaccine, medical professionals expect the side effects associated with the H1N1 flu vaccine should be minimal. The most common side effect with all flu vaccines is soreness at the injection site, and sometimes people feel achy.

Many Americans are concerned about the safety and efficacy of the newly developed H1N1 flu shot because of a similar vaccine that was linked to a swine flu-like outbreak at Fort Dix in 1976.

Guillain-Barre occurs naturally following upper respiratory illnesses, digestive illnesses and on rare occasions - is associated with drugs and vaccines. However, the frequency is still 1-2 per 100,000 people.

I'll be keeping a close eye on this, and if anything is reported, I'll be the first one to let you know.