Vaccine safe: expert

Being vaccinated for H1N1 is safe, effective and beneficial, says a virologist who gave a short course on immunization at Red Deer College on Wednesday.

Kevin Fonseca

Being vaccinated for H1N1 is safe, effective and beneficial, says a virologist who gave a short course on immunization at Red Deer College on Wednesday.

Kevin Fonseca from the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health was one of three experts sponsored by the Red Deer College Foundation to speak about vaccines in a public presentation planned weeks before H1N1 flu was declared to be a pandemic.

It’s a sign of the times that as the H1N1 crisis began to emerge, Fonseca was the only speaker who was still available on Wednesday. The others had to cancel because they were too busy, said Warren Elgersma, chairman of the colleges science department.

Addressing an audience of between 80 and 100 people Fonseca described the 2,300-year history of vaccines and the of lives they have saved.

There are some circumstances in which people should not be vaccinated for H1N1, including those whose immune systems are compromised or who are already fighting an infection, he said.

People who are extremely allergic to eggs risk anaphylactic shock, as do those rare individuals who are allergic to shark liver oil, from which the adjuvants are extracted, said Fonseca.

But even the elderly, for whom vaccines tend to be less effective, can still limit the severity of the disease by getting the shot, he said.

“I can tell you that the side effect is that it gives you a very sore arm for a couple of days and all you have to do is suck it up,” said Fonseca.

Part of the reason for vaccinating as many people as possible is to reduce the number of people who are shedding the virus, said Fonseca. With influenza viruses, the spread can be checked if at least 80 per cent of the population is vaccinated, he said.

It takes six months on average to manufacture enough vaccine for public distribution. The process includes growing the vaccine inside healthy cells of millions of fertilized chicken eggs, said Fonseca.

It has therefore been quite a feat for the manufacturers to be able to get the new H1N1 vaccine ready as quickly as they have, he said.

“Vaccine manufacturers and governments and the World Health Organization have done a remarkable job in terms of trying to produce enough vaccine for us.

“Canada is the only country, to it’s credit, that is going to try to immunize every single Canadian who lives or works here. I think that’s remarkable.”

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… Continue reading

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month