When it comes to swine flu, many people wonder if the vaccines hurried into production are safe? We only learned of the H1N1 virus early this year and now the US is bent on immunizing almost everyone in the country.
Don't worry and roll up your sleeve, WHO says.
As Raphael Savastano (Rofonic) wrote in a comment about our online Q&A session about swine flu Monday:
This vaccine seems to have been rushed to market. Although this has been FDA approved, the FDA has a great track record of approving drugs only to have them pulled from the market due to complications. How can we be sure this vaccine will not have some major side effects as the 70's vaccine did. And do you feel that the fact that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has granted the manufacturer immunity from potential legal proceedings is any cause for alarm to Not get this vaccination?
Don't worry, says the World Health Organization, which affirmed the safety of the vaccines today. Yes, there have been four reports of side effects--muscle cramps and headache--among the 39,000 people vaccinated against H1N1 in China.
But WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl says those kinds of minor problems aren't unexpected and the swine flu vaccines are among the safest WHO has seen, the Associated Press reported.
"The vaccine is the single most important tool that we have against influenza," Hartl said, according to the AP. "For certain groups such as health-care workers, it's doubly important to get vaccinated because health-care workers have the ability to protect both themselves and to protect others by getting vaccinated."
The National Institutes of Health's Anthony Fauci told NPR, the swine flu vaccine "is made exactly the same way by the same manufacturers with the same processing, the same materials, as we make seasonal flu vaccine, which has an extraordinarily good safety record." Still, he acknowledged it's not possible to know about rare side effects, such as cases of Guillain-Barre paralysis that a different, less purified swine flu vaccine may have sparked in 1976.