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What is pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccine?

It is a vaccine to protect against pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Why is it important to be vaccinated?

Pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 is a new type of influenza virus that is easily spread by infected droplets in the air through close personal contact, coughing and sneezing. In most cases it is a mild illness but for some people this influenza can cause serious health complications or death. The vaccination program will protect people from infection, minimize the amount of influenza virus circulating in the community and help protects against future waves of the virus.
The people at risk of severe outcomes if infected with this pandemic influenza virus are pregnant women, young children and those with underlying chronic conditions, including:

Heart disease
Asthma and other lung diseases
Kidney diseases
Immunological diseases
Neurological disease

Even if you are fit and well, you could still be at risk from this pandemic influenza or pass it on to others who are more vulnerable.

How safe is this vaccine?

Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine is safe and effective in those who participated. However, the vaccine is very new and the side-effects have not been fully documented.

Is this vaccine suitable for everyone?

Not everyone is suitable to receive this vaccine. People with a known severe allergy to eggs or anaphylaxis following a previous dose of any vaccine should not be given this vaccine.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given by injection as a single dose or two doses with an interval of 28 days depending on your age and condition. Your vaccinator will provide you the second injection schedule if needed.

What are the possible side effects?

Just like any other medicines, this vaccine can also cause side effects, but not everyone will experience them. The side effects can start soon after the vaccination.

Some possible common side effects include:
Headache, sweating, fever, muscle and joints pain, fatigue and shivering.

Local reactions on the injected site include:
Redness, swelling and pain.

Other possible uncommon side effects include:
Tingling or numbness of the limbs, sleepiness, dizziness, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, itching, rash, generally feeling unwell, sleeplessness, fits and low blood platelet count.
Very rarely, anaphylaxis ( a severe allergic reaction that may resukt in unconsciousness and death if not treated quickly) cvan occur. There have been reports of a possible very rare association between influenza vaccination and a condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome (a nervous system disorder which may cause paralysis). The association with this vaccine is not proven.

What should you do if you experience any of these side effects?

If you experience any of the above side effects or are concerned about any health problems which you think may be related, please seek medical advice immediately.

Am I fully protected against pandemic influenza A (H1N1) after being vaccinated?

It is important to remember that no vaccine provides full protection in every person vaccinated. However, if you ever get infected with pandemic influenza A (h1N1) virus, the conditions will be milder and the recovery period will be shorter. Immunity after vaccination differs from person to person. Generally, your body will start producing antibodies that provide protection not long after vaccination. The protection will last for about a year in most individuals.

This pandemic influenza A (h1N1) vaccine will not protect you against seasonal flu. You can still be infected by other seasonal influenza viruses. It is therefore important for you to practice good personal hygiene at all times.

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