Children through 9 years of age should get two doses of H1N1 flu vaccine, about a month apart. Older children and adults need only one dose.
Vaccines are available to protect against H1N1 influenza.
- These vaccines are made just like seasonal flu vaccines.
- They are expected to be as safe and effective as seasonal flu vaccines.
- They will not prevent “influenza-like” illnesses caused by other viruses.
- They will not prevent seasonal flu. You should also get seasonal influenza vaccine if you want to be protected against seasonal flu and if it is still available.
Inactivated vaccine (vaccine that has killed virus in it) is injected into the muscle, like the annual flu shot. A live, intranasal vaccine (the nasal spray vaccine) is also available. Some inactivated H1N1 vaccine contains a preservative called thimerosal to keep it free from germs. Some people have suggested that thimerosal might be related to autism.
In 2004 a group of experts at the Institute of Medicine reviewed many studies looking into this theory and found no association between thimerosal and autism. Additional studies since then reached the same conclusion.
For more information on H1N1 vaccines, visit http://www.flu.gov.