You rise from a fitful night’s sleep with a sore throat and headache. Your
temperature is slightly over 100 degrees, but judging by how crummy you feel,
you wonder if it will spike to 103 degrees by day’s end. Should you drag
yourself to work and risk infecting coworkers? Or should you phone in sick,
even though your boss desperately needs you to pitch in during a stressful
“People are concerned about calling in sick, but if you’re really feeling
unwell and especially if you have a fever,...
Isn't the 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccine too new to trust?
Why should I believe what government scientists say about swine
Does the H1N1 swine flu vaccine contain thimerosal?
The 1976 swine flu vaccine wasn't safe. Why should I trust this
Do we really know what drugmakers are putting in the swine flu
Is the 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccine safe?
No vaccine is 100% safe for everyone. People with allergies to eggs, for example, can't take flu vaccines
because eggs are involved in the manufacturing process.
And flu vaccines cause mild but common reactions. About one in three people
get a sore arm from the shot, some with a little redness or even swelling. Some
10% to 15% of people feel tired or get a headache; some may even run a low fever.
And vaccines can trigger rare but serious reactions, even among people with
no apparent allergies or sensitivities.
So if vaccines aren't 100% safe, why risk them?
Approved vaccines -- including the 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccine -- are
calculated to be much, much less risky than the diseases they prevent. For
example, out of every million people who get a flu shot, one or two will get a
serious neurological reaction called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).
But flu itself causes serious problems, including GBS, in far more than two
in a million cases. And since a large proportion of the population will get
swine flu, the vaccine risk is far smaller than the disease risk.
In clinical trials, 10,000 to 15,000 children and adults have received
various manufacturers' brands of H1N1 swine flu vaccine. Nothing serious
happened to any of them, including this reporter, who received a double dose of
the Sanofi-Pasteur swine flu vaccine.