The Bigger PictureQ. What has been learned about H1N1 since it first emerged earlier this year?
A. We have learned a lot about H1N1, and it's mostly good news. First, the virus is mild to moderate in terms of severity as compared to other influenza pandemics. The virus hasn't mutated since it first emerged, which means the vaccination is a perfect match to this strain of flu. It can be successfully treated with drugs.
Q. What is the biggest misconception about the H1N1 vaccine?
A. The biggest misconception about H1N1 is that people think the vaccination didn't go through proper safety testing because it came together so fast, and people do not want to get the vaccination because they feel it is not safe. Not true. The vaccination is fully tested and is very safe. It has actually gone through more testing than the seasonal flu vaccines.
Q. If this strain of flu is still here next fall, will I need to receive two flu shots again -- one H1N1 and one seasonal?
A. No. The H1N1 vaccination will likely be blended into the seasonal flu shot, so you'll only need one vaccination. It would have been incorporated into the seasonal shot this year, except that production on the seasonal flu shot was almost done when H1N1 came onto the scene in April.
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