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2009 H1N1 Vaccine: Inactivated Swine Flu Shot (cont.)

Some people should not get the vaccine or should wait.

You should not get the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine if you have a severe (life-threatening) allergy to eggs, or to any other substance in the vaccine. Tell the person giving you the vaccine if you have any severe allergies.

Also tell them if you have ever had:

  • a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of seasonal flu vaccine,
  • Guillain Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness also called GBS).
These may not be reasons to avoid the vaccine, but the medical staff can help you decide.

If you are moderately or severely ill, you might be advised to wait until you recover before getting the vaccine. If you have a mild cold or other illness, there is usually no need to wait.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women can get inactivated 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine.

Inactivated 2009 H1N1 vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including seasonal influenza vaccine.

What are the risks from 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine?

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

The virus in inactivated 2009 H1N1 vaccine has been killed, so you cannot get influenza from the vaccine.

The risks from inactivated 2009 H1N1 vaccine are similar to those from seasonal inactivated flu vaccine:

Mild problems:

  • 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.

Severe problems:
  • Life-threatening allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot.
  • In 1976, an earlier type of swine flu vaccine was associated with cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Since then, flu vaccines have not been clearly linked to GBS.

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