H1N1 Vaccine: No Serious Side Effects Found, Says WHO
WHO released its latest findings today, confirming that the H1N1 vaccine has not produced any serious or unusual side effects in the one million people in 20 countries around the world who have already received it. WHO's top flu expert Dr. Keiji Fukuda said that the only significant side effect observed so far is soreness in the arm where the shot has been received. Fukuda also mentioned that the rate at which vaccinated individuals get this side effect from H1N1 shots may actually be lower than that seen with other seasonal flu vaccinations.
Fukuda reiterated that just one dose of the vaccine should be sufficient to provide adequate protection against the virus. He also mentioned that H1N1 is becoming the predominant flu strain this fall season, crowding out other flu strains. Finally, Fukuda said that the H1N1 virus has not mutated a great deal since its emergence in May, but that some mutations are expected as people start to build immunity against the virus. There is also no evidence thus far of the widespread occurrence of antiviral resistance.
Twenty countries have started to vaccinate against the pandemic virus and the initial picture suggests the vaccine is very safe, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the global health agency's top flu expert, said in a news conference in Geneva.
"And the side-effects which are expected - such as a painful injection or perhaps some swelling at the injection site - these are occurring at rates which are expected and usually seen with seasonal influenza vaccine. So the picture right now looks quite good in terms of the safety."
Fukuda said rates of local reactions may actually be lower than what is seen with seasonal flu shots.