As the swine flu spread from continent to continent, scientists were hard at work on a vaccine to help reduce the spread and the potential severe cases. Keep reading to learn about the vaccine and its safety.
Many are concerned about the fact that the vaccine seemed to come out of thin air all too quickly, given the strict nature of drug regulations in this country. While doctors say that it is safe, the general public is divided on their views.
Here are a few facts about how vaccinations like the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 are created. Each year, we have a seasonal flu season. And, just about each year, the flu virus mutates and creates a new strain.
The strains are similar in many ways. It is these similarities that the scientists use to fashion a flu vaccine for the general public. In each vaccine a portion of the identified strain of the virus is used to stimulate the immune system to create antibodies.
With the H1N1 virus, the strain was different from previous strains of the seasonal flu. The process took a little longer to synthesize a vaccine but there were common features of the influenza virus that helped scientists to do so. They just had to substitute the new swine flu virus.
Each component of the vaccine is then tested for efficacy and safety using the same measures as for the seasonal flu vaccine. It seems like a quick process, but there are several steps. Our seasonal flu vaccine has a new viral component whenever the strain mutates so it is at the heart a different vaccine each time.
The vaccination is synthesized in a shot and also a nasal spray. The nasal spray is created from a weakened form of the virus. It does not cause the receiver to contract the swine flu. This type of vaccination process is also referred to as live attenuated intranasal vaccine. It is similar to how FluMist is given for the seasonal flu.
If someone is given FluMist for the seasonal flu, they must wait before being given the nasal spray H1N1 vaccine. Both are weakened live viruses but they act in different ways and there is still testing that needs to be done on how they would react together.
The shot on the other hand is created with inactivated forms of the virus. They are dead and can't cause the flu either in the recipients. With the shot, you can receive the seasonal flu shot and the swine flu shot at the same time since the virus they contain are not live.
Now that you know more, you can make an informed decision about receiving the vaccine for yourself and your family.
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