H1N1 information meeting - Influenza Vaccination - 11/12/2009

H1N1 information meeting
link to invitation;

H1N1 Influenza Vaccine

The Health Division will be receiving the first amounts of Influenza A(H1N1)v vaccine by the end of December 2009. Hence vaccination will start in the first week in January 2010.

The first priority groups to be vaccinated are:

1. Health care workers in both public and private sectors

2. People who are at higher risk for H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems. These include:

Chronic respiratory diseases
Chronic cardiovascular diseases
Chronic metabolic diseases (diabetes)
Chronic renal and hepatic diseases
Chronic neurological or neuromuscular condition
Persons with deficient immunity

3. Pregnant women

The rest of the population will be offered vaccination as more stocks arrive.

The H1N1 vaccines are available to protect against H1N1 influenza.
• These vaccines are made just like seasonal influenza vaccines
• They are as safe and effective as seasonal influenza vaccines
• They will not prevent “influenza-like” illnesses caused by other viruses.
• They will not prevent seasonal influenza
• They generate high immunity levels to H1N1.
• Similar to seasonal flu cannot be given to children aged less than six months
• Some age groups will require two doses and different dosages
• The vaccine can be given concurrently with other vaccines and no interval needs to be maintained between vaccines. If given concurrently it is recommended that different sites are used.

A vaccine, like any medicine, could cause a serious problem as a severe allergic reaction. But the risk of any vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small as it is with most other vaccines.

The H1N1 virus in the vaccine has been killed, so a person cannot get influenza from the vaccine. The risks from H1N1 vaccine are similar to those from seasonal inactivated influenza vaccine and include:
• Soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given, fainting (mainly adolescents)
• Headache, muscle aches, fever, nausea

If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.

Health care workers working in the public sector and in institutions will be offered vaccination from their place of work. Other health care workers in the private sector will be offered vaccination from Floriana Health Centre. Other persons will be offered vaccination from health centres. Persons who suffer from chronic illness will need to show their schedule V card and in the absence of this, they will require a certificate from their doctor stating that they suffer from one of the above conditions.

We encourage you to recommend the vaccination to persons since this is the best means of prevention of spread of H1N1.

Yours truly,

Dr R. Busuttil
Director General
Public Health Regulation Division

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