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Friday, April 30, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Pandemic (H1N1) Vaccine?

One with PKD or chronic kidney disease should be aware that he or she has an increased risk of infection especially when end-stage renal disease sets in. It is to be noted that viral diseases like A(H1N1) flu have a tendency to become more severe in patients with pre-existing medical conditions.

Thus I submitted myself for the annual seasonal flu and A(H1N1) flu vaccination yesterday. (By the way, years ago, I had vaccination against Hepatitis B and Pneumococcus following the ACIP or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Recommendations for Chronic Kidney Disease patients).

Speaking of the H1N1 vaccine, some (non-kidney disease patients) are still afraid to have this vaccine. These include health workers who are at the frontline of patient care who are at higher risk of getting the pandemic flu from patients. It is because they fear this 3 letter word: "G-B-S".

More than 60 million Americans are said to have been vaccinated against H1N1 in 2009 and the number of  suspected GBS cases possibly-related to the vaccine are considered rare.

GBS or Guillain Barré syndrome is a rapidly developing, immune-mediated disorder of the peripheral nervous system that results in muscular weakness.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO),

"During the 1976 influenza vaccination campaign, about 10 persons per million vaccinated persons developed GBS."

WHO continues,"The reason why GBS developed in association with that specific vaccine has never been firmly established. The potential for the development of a similar risk with future vaccines can never be totally excluded. However, pandemic influenza vaccines are manufactured according to established standards, and are similar to recent well-studied influenza vaccines that have shown no association with GBS."


Therefore, no other clear association for GBS has been found with either seasonal or other pandemic influenza vaccines.


The H1N1 vaccine is expected to have the same safety record as seasonal flu vaccine.

However, WHO advises all countries administering pandemic vaccines "to conduct intensive monitoring for safety, and report adverse events".

I do not know about you, but I think I am better off having this vaccine than ending up with H1N1 especially with the return of students coming from a vacation abroad.


Instead of thinking about GBS, I will just enjoy watching Iron Man 2 instead. Iron Man, War Machine, Whiplash and Black Widow...here I come...


References:
  1. http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/frequently_asked_questions/vaccine_preparedness/safety_approval/en/index.html
  2. http://influenzamonitor.com/2010/01/h1n1-vaccine-safety-guillain-barre-syndrome-less-mysterious-more-manageable-and-very-rare/

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm not scared... yeepee! But I'm still gonna enjoy Iron Man... UNIBEAM! Hehehe...

    By the way, have you ever heard about yummy-cebu.com? I hear they just started a new contest called Mama's day out!

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