Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

CDC: Few Serious Reactions After Swine Flu Vaccine

Chances of Neurological Disorder Seen in 1976 "Vanishingly Remote"
By Cathryn Meurer
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 4, 2009 - Serious reactions after receiving the H1N1 swine flu vaccine are rare and not significantly higher than those seen from the seasonal flu vaccine, according to a briefing at the CDC today.

Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, presented preliminary safety data and confidence that the H1N1 vaccine will not be dogged by Guillain-Barre syndrome, the neurological disorder that was associated with the 1976 swine flu vaccine.

“The likelihood that we’ll have a 1976-like problem with this year’s H1N1 influenza vaccine is vanishingly remote,” said Frieden.

H1N1 flu cases fell off somewhat during the Thanksgiving week, with widespread activity reported in 25 states, a drop from 32 states in the previous week. Still, 17 children died last week of laboratory-confirmed H1N1 flu, bringing the number of child deaths to 210. That’s three times the number of flu deaths expected in children at this point in a normal flu season.

“This virus is a much worse virus for younger people. The number of people, not just children, but young adults under age 50 who will get severely ill or die from this virus is much higher than it is from seasonal flu," said Frieden.

Tamiflu Shortage Coming to an End

Liquid forms of the antiviral drug Tamiflu should be easily available now, according to CDC. The agency distributed the drug from the strategic national stockpile until manufacturers could catch up with demand.

Frieden says the agency is seeing a dramatic improvement in the treatment of children who are severely ill with influenza, due to the use antivirals like Tamiflu. In most years, only one in five sick children arriving at a hospital have been started on an antiviral. This year, 80% are getting early treatment, which helps prevent severe illness.

The vaccine supply is increasing as well, with 73 million doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine available this week and another 10 million coming next week. Top priority for getting the shot should still go to people in the high-risk groups.

“Vaccination is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family against the flu,” Frieden said.

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat