FDA To Docs: Tell Patients Swine Flu Vaccine Is OK : Shots - Health News FDA Commissioner Hamburg assures doctors the vaccine against the new H1N1 virus is of high quality, despite the rush to produce it.
NPR logo FDA To Docs: Tell Patients Swine Flu Vaccine Is OK

FDA To Docs: Tell Patients Swine Flu Vaccine Is OK

Hey, doc, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg wants to thank you for all your hard work dealing with the swine flu. Oh, and by the way, if your patients have questions about the new H1N1 vaccine, she's got some answers.

A man gets an H1N1 shot at drive-thru clinic in San Pablo, Calif. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A man gets an H1N1 shot at drive-thru clinic in San Pablo, Calif.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

We've been getting quite a few of those queries ourselves, such as, is the vaccine effective?

So if you're wondering what your doctor is being told about the vaccine, check out Hamburg's
letter to health-care professionals.

We can give you the high points. She acknowledges that some patients may wonder how everyone can be so confident a vaccine developed in only six months is OK.

Here's why, she says.

  • Manufacturers followed the time-tested recipe that has safely made millions of doses of the usual seasonal flu vaccine;
  • FDA verified the companies met quality and manufacturing standards before approving the vaccines for use; and,
  • Just in case, the FDA and other agencies are watching for problems.

Hamburg declares, "We are not cutting any corners." In fact, the most interesting part of the letter to us was her account of all the work that went into lining up extra chicken eggs to grow the H1N1 virus that goes into the vaccine.

[T]his year, manufacturers could tap into a reserve supply of eggs made by additional flocks of chickens. These flocks were available under contracts put in place for just this purpose -- to respond to a possible pandemic.

So you're convinced and want to get immunized. Where do you get the scarce shots or spray anyway? Try searching Google's nifty Flu Shot Finder here. Another option is the government's Flu Shot Locator here, but it's a little more trouble to use.