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Experts warn against hasty H1N1 flu vaccine

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

According to ABC Australia, infectious disease experts in Australia warn that hasty dissemination of H1N1 flu vaccine could spread infection from the use of multi-dose vials. The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases says multi dose vials carry risk of contamination that could spread HIV, hepatitis, and even result in deaths. The body of physicians warns that H1N1 flu vaccine is being distributed too quickly, and that waiting for single dose H1N1 vaccine would be safer.

The experts say there are too many risks to the public. Now that H1N1 (swine flu) cases have diminished, there is no need to rush H1N1 flu vaccine.

ABC Australia’s, Dina Rosendorff interviewed Dr. Tom Gottleib who said, “To rush to a massive vaccination using multi-dose vials that have been associated with problems in the past, seems too hasty and perhaps not measured enough for our society”. Gottleib is the President of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases. H1N1 flu vaccination program will start in a few weeks, but the concern is bacteria in the multi-dose vials that could lead to spread of infection.

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Concern among the infectious disease experts is so deep, the group wrote a letter to Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Jim Bishop, urging him to reconsider mass vaccination against H1N1 influenza.

Single dose vials that would reduce risk of spreading infection would take too long to manufacture. The plan is to go ahead using multi-dose vials to deliver H1N1 flu vaccine to large numbers of the population.

Dr. Gottleib explained, “Our society, all the members are strong advocates of vaccinations, so in no way do we want to undermine vaccination as a very effective strategy. But in this particular influenza season, we have to determine which are the risk groups that need vaccination, and the probable urgency is no longer there as it was perhaps a few months ago. And we would caution for a more measured approach and for single dose vaccines to be used preferably to multi-dose vials”.

Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon says two million dose of H1N1 vaccine are expected by the end of next week. The plan is to go ahead with mass H1N1 flu vaccination, using multi dose vials, that experts warn could pose risks by spreading infection.

Source: ABC



These concerns are very real, and many nurses/doctors/other health professionals have made public statements saying they will not take this up and coming vaccine. Some recommend that those at higher risks--for example, those with diabetes, asthma or suppressed immune systems--should take the vaccine while relatively healthy adults should not. It is certainly a personal decision and requires each individual person to weigh the risks/benefits in his or her life. There is an interesting video on this controversy at newsy.com. It's worth watching: http://www.newsy.com/videos/h1n1_vaccine_needed_but_not_ready