Facts about vaccine for H1N1 flu

Some facts about the vaccine for the H1N1 flu, approved Wednesday for national distribution.

Some facts about the vaccine for the H1N1 flu, approved Wednesday for national distribution.

What is it: A vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline in Ste-Foi, Que. One dose is expected to immunize a person against the H1N1 virus.

When available: Provinces may begin administering their stockpiles of vaccine as early as next week. About two million doses shipped to provinces and territories, with three million more doses to be shipped each week. GlaxoSmithKline has contracted to provide 50.4 million doses.

Additives: The vaccine contains adjuvants, or a compound that boosts the immune system and allows practitioners to administer smaller doses. It’s the first licensed flu vaccine containing adjuvant in Canada, although adjuvants have been used for years in Europe in flu vaccines for seniors.

Potential risks from adjuvants: No data on the use of adjuvanted flu vaccines in pregnant women and children. Government has ordered 1.8 million doses of unadjuvanted vaccines for their use. The unadjuvanted products will be shipped separately; no word yet on when they will be available.

Vaccine and seasonal flu shot: Preliminary analysis and international health authorities have largely dismissed Canadian research suggesting people who got a seasonal flu shot last year are twice as likely to contract swine flu.

Who should get vaccinated: Everyone 10 years of age or older should receive one dose of adjuvanted vaccine. Children between six months and 10 years should received the adjuvanted vaccine in two half-doses, administered at least 21 days apart. Pregnant women are advised to get one dose of unadjuvanted vaccine. Immunization is not recommended for infants less than six months old.

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