H1N1 Vaccination FactsQ. Isn't it a bad idea to get the vaccination when so many people are sick all around me? Won't that heighten my chances of getting it? Is the vaccine even worth taking at this point?
A. The vaccine will not increase your risk. It is definitely worth taking at this point.
Q. If I get the vaccine today, when does it become effective?
A. The vaccine becomes effective in about a week for those 10 years of age and older. Younger children need two doses for protection.
Q. Does the regular flu shot make H1N1 a milder case if I get it?
A. No. There is no H1N1 protection from the seasonal flu vaccination.
Q. Will the vaccination wear off before spring?
A. The vaccine should not wear off that quickly. We can't say with certainty how long it will protect you, but it will get you through this flu season and probably longer.
Q. If my kids have not received their seasonal or H1N1 flu shots, can they get both shots together?
A. Yes. You can get one spray and one shot or receive them both as shots. You cannot get two nasal sprays at once, however. This has to do with how nasal spray works. It needs to attach to the lining of the nose. If you get two sprays, they get in the way of each other.
Q. Is the vaccine safe for a pregnant woman? Is it safe for a breastfeeding mom?
A. Yes. The shot is safe. Pregnant women cannot get the spray.
Q. If babies under 6 months cannot receive the vaccine, is there treatment for them if they do fall ill?
A. Yes. They can receive antiviral medicine. It might be listed as "emergency use" because it isn't licensed. You can find a lot of good information on this on the Food and Drug Administration Web site. And again, this is why it is so important that people who interact with infants receive the H1N1 vaccination. You can "protect around them" in this way.
Q. Some people are saying that their MDs are not getting the vaccination and that those MDs do not plan to vaccinate their own children. Can you speak to that?
A. It's important that people have accurate information. From my perspective, the risk from the illness far outweighs the risk of vaccination.
Q. What's holding up the vaccination production?
A. There have been some hold-ups in production. The virus hasn't grown as quickly as manufacturers had thought and there have been some delays in getting the vaccine into vials and syringes. I have been told that these problems have been solved. The government had originally promised the vaccine by mid-October. Well, here we are and the vaccine has yet to be made fully available. They are now saying mid- to late-November.