“Swine” Flu Vaccine to be Available Shortly

On September 15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its approval of four vaccines against the H1N1, or “swine” flu, virus. According to federal officials, roughly six to seven million doses of vaccine will be available starting the first week in October, with millions more doses to be shipped in the following weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the rate of doctor visits for flu-like symptoms is higher than typically expected at this time of year. The vaccines currently available for three seasonal flu strains do not protect against the H1N1 virus.


Based on early data, the new H1N1 vaccines, which are available as both nasal sprays and injections, elicit an immune response in healthy adults roughly 8 to 10 days after administration. (Studies are still under way to determine the best dose for children.) For the injectable vaccine, the most common side effects include soreness at the injection site, mild fever, body aches, and fatigue for a couple of days after receiving the injection. The most common side effects of the nasal spray are runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throats in adults, and fever in children two to six years old.

Although there will eventually be enough vaccine for everyone in the United States, healthy adults are encouraged to hold off on being vaccinated so that people who are most at risk from the flu can receive the vaccine first. Those in the at-risk groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children under 6 months old, health-care and emergency service workers, people from 6 months to 24 years old, and those from 25 to 64 years old who have a chronic health disorder such as diabetes or a compromised immune system. Children under age two and pregnant women should not receive the nasal spray vaccine, which is made from a weakened version of the live flu virus. (The flu injection is made from inactive virus.) Additionally, the FDA notes that people who have a known allergy to chicken eggs or other substances in the vaccine should probably not be vaccinated.

Since the flu is spread primarily by the coughing and sneezing of infected people, those who have the H1N1 flu — or think they might — are advised to stay home and limit their contact with other people to prevent the spread of infection.

To learn more about the vaccines and how you can protect yourself from the flu, read “FDA Approves 4 Vaccines for 2009 H1N1 Influenza,” by Kristina Rebelo, on Medscape or see the H1N1 Web site of the CDC.

  • Carol J. Thompsonc

    The age is listed as 25 to 64 years for people with Diabetes. What does that mean for those older than 64 years. Should they get the swine flu vacine?

  • Judy Palamara

    I am also interested in the question posted by Carol Thompson. I am 72, have diabetes and a history of upper respitory infections and my doctor says I don’t need the Swine flu shot.

  • Jim Devlin

    I am a 66 year old diabetic.
    Should I get the H1N1 flu shot?

  • American Diabetes Services

    Great information!

    It’s good to know that the vaccines will be available shortly and that those who are at risk for the flu will be getting the vaccinations they need first.

    Limiting contact is a good idea but it is also important to wash your hands in order to prevent the spread of the flu through skin contact or food contamination.

  • Dana Bickel

    My husband is 77 and I am 75. We both get flu shots every year. He had open heart surgery with 6 bypasses and I have atrial fibrilation with a stent in an artery near my heart. I am also diabetic. Why is it we are not eligible to get the H1N1 vacine?

  • LaDonna Wind

    I am 71 years of age and have Type 2 diabetes. Am I elegible to get the H1N1 flu vaccine in the early days of it being available?

  • Diane Fennell

    Thank you all for your questions. According to the H1N1 Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Current studies indicate that the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. However, once vaccine demand among younger age groups has been met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people 65 or older.”

    If you have any questions about whether you should be among the first wave of people to receive the vaccination, I would encourage you to speak with your health-care provider.

    Diane Fennell
    Web Editor

  • Paul Graham

    Sounds like the beginning of Obama Care for seniors!

  • Beverly S.

    There was some good information in this piece and the folow-up answer was a good response. The last comment(posted by Paul Graham) was snarky and offensive. It was typical of the kind of emails I’ve been receiving from uninformed and frightened people who fear a loss of control in their government. Paul, you are pathetic and wouldn’t know an intelligent thought if it bumped into you. So sad!

  • allyson meche

    My son is a Type I Diabetic and is 21 years old and away at college. Should he take the H1N1 vaccine and regular flu vaccine?

  • notepad publishing

    H1N1 = Conspiracy?

    H1N1 notepad

    October 2009
    On October 1 2009, a former federal health minister dismisses as “crackpots and conspiracy theorists” those who would actively discourage Australians from having their swine flu vaccine’. October 2nd, the San Fransisco Chronicle publishes that ‘Everybody seems to be saying TRUST THE GOVERNMENT but it’s hard to trust the H1N1 vaccination campaign’ and on October 4rd, the Washington Post wonders ‘When the swine flu vaccine finally arrives this week, will Americans line up to get it?’ and CBS News writes about health care workers protesting the flu vaccine mandate. October 6th Foodconsumer publishes ‘Do NOT Let Your Child Get Flu Vaccine — 9 Reasons Why’ and writes that ‘modern medicine has no explanation for autism, despite its continued rise in prevalence. Yet autism is not reported among Amish children who go unvaccinated’. October 7th Healthnews writes that 72 percent are concerned about potential vaccine side effects and the Examiner writes that’ theorists believe that government may force people to take the vaccine’. October 8th Times&Transscript publishes that ‘a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal would be included as one of the substances in the H1N1 vaccine’, Medill Reports writes that Dr. Mayer Eisenstein is advising his patients to say no and is convinced that vaccines cause autism and the Los Angeles Times Blog publishes that media commentators Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have apparently fallen prey to the loony websites of the anti-vaccine folks and that Beck would do “the exact opposite” of what the government recommended and attend a swine flu party. October 9th, The Christian Science Monitor publishes that ‘the vaccine is opposed, moreover, by naturopaths and even a well-known epidemiologist’ and that Glenn Beck from Fox News has devoted hours to ask ‘why the World Health Organization, “Big Pharma,” and the government are hyping a pandemic’?

    Read the full article with all media references @ http://www.conspirare.net

    notepad publishing (a non-profit news agency based in Switzerland)

  • C D Knight

    My son is 15 years old and has Type I Diabetes. Should he be amoung the first to receive the H1N1 vaccine?

  • Jan W

    SO glad Beverly S. isn’t snarky or offensive in her response to someone she considers so.

  • Sherwin

    I am a type 1 diabetic and I am 13 my mom said my family automaticly gets for free, is that true? And why?