What to expect from the H1N1 vaccine

By Tanieya Lewis - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

(WTOL) - They've been reported as mild, but cases of pandemic flu have already canceled classes on some college campuses.

While the University of Toledo has been free and clear, students are starting to wonder about the vaccine to fight it.

Student Randall Ward asked, "Is it safe for me, of course. But is it safe for like my nephew or my niece. My niece is only 3."

Students also asked if the vaccine is even available yet.

We sat down with Dr. Sanford Himmel, a family practitioner on the UT Health Science Campus. He is recommending the vaccine to patients, but he says scientists are still testing it out. "That unfortunately means that you don't know anything just yet," said Dr. Himmel.

That also means there are no guarantees it will work. Himmel explains, "The exact percentage of how effective the vaccine isn't going to be known until the studies are done."

What he can predict is that the side effects should be mild in healthy patients because the vaccine is not made with the live virus. He says those who receive the vaccine may have pain, soreness and swelling at the shot site. They may even get a headache or a slight fever. "If you have an immune system that doesn't work very well, it's hard to predict how well you're body is going to respond to the vaccine," said Himmel.

While doctors are hopeful about the possibilities, potential patients want proof. Bryce Schide said, "I guess I wouldn't want it until they absolutely positively understood what it is -- the H1N1."

Allergy alert

Anyone with an allergy to eggs, check with your doctor before getting the vaccination.

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