Thursday, November 5, 2009

The H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Vaccines

On Monday, I received the 2009 Live Attenuated Intranasal (LAIV) H1N1 vaccine and the 2009 injectable seasonal flu vaccine.

As a healthy clinician under 50 who sees pediatric patients (mushroom and plant toxicology cases), I'm in the initial tier who qualify to receive the intranasal H1N1 live attenuated vaccine.

The experience of intranasal administration is interesting - inhaling an aerosolized liquid that slowly drips from your nasopharynx down your throat is not the most pleasant sensation. I suspect that pediatric patients will prefer the intranasal approach to an injection.

For 12 hours after receiving the vaccine, I experienced slight nasal congestion and mild fatigue. The complete fact sheet about risks and side effects is given to every patient.

During the same visit I received the 2009 Seasonal flu injection, an inactivated (killed virus) vaccine. Other than mild soreness at the injection site, I had no symptoms.

For me, the vaccines were a positive experience and will ensure that I am not a viral vector (call it personal anti-virus software) in the season ahead.

Since vaccine supplies are limited, it is important to understand the epidemiology of H1N1 (rates of reported cases per 100,000 population)

0 to 4 years — 22.9
5 to 24 years — 26.7
25 to 49 years — 6.97
50 to 64 years — 3.9
≥65 years — 1.3

You'll find a great UptoDate summary online.

Also, Harvard Health Publications has launched an iPhone App to provided the latest information about H1N1.

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