There are a couple of things that Im getting over and over and over, from readers/friends/family/overheard in the grocery store, and its driving me nuts.
1. Just call it swine flu. Thats what we all call it. H1N1 variants are completely normal components of generic seasonal flu. The ‘new’ flu is swine flu. Its just the pork industry doesnt want us to call it that in front of you all, thus we get:
We use “swine flu” as one of several names, along with “pandemic flu,” “the new H1N1” and “the new flu.” We try not to refer to this new virus as simply “H1N1,” although many do, because there are many H1N1 flu viruses, including a seasonal H1N1 that is still circulating.
Genetically, the flu virus discovered last April is made up of genetic elements that have most in common with swine flu viruses, but also have genetic sequences from human and bird flu viruses. Scientists believe the new virus has circulated in swine for a decade or more without having been detected as a new virus. It jumped into humans more recently, but no one knows exactly where or when.
The pork industry is concerned that the name “swine flu” implies to some people that they can catch it by eating pork products. There is no such risk.
2. Some people are concerned that the swine flu vaccine hasnt been tested as well as the seasonal flu vaccine. I mean, we had to rush to make it, right? And its a totally new vaccine, right?
Swine flu vaccines are made the same damn way and have the same damn components as seasonal flu vaccines. Weve made these forever. Its just that swine flu didnt come around soon enough to be in this years seasonal mix.
The H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine is made exactly the same way by the same manufacturers with the same processing, the same materials, as we make seasonal flu vaccine, which has an extraordinarily good safety record,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease. He is more responsible than any other single person for the fast-track development of this new flu vaccine.
So think of it this way– Skittles came out with a new flavor thats going to be in a regular bag of Skittles from now on. Thing is, all the bags of Skittles already on the shelves dont have this new flavor (seasonal flu vaccine). So they let you buy bags that only have this new flavor (swine flu vaccine). While the new flavor is ‘new’, it basically has the exact same ingredients as all the other flavors of Skittle. Next year, all bags of Skittles will have all the flavors (2010 seasonal flu vaccine), and you wont even notice.
There is no reason to be afraid of the swine flu vaccine. If youre a parent of young ones, you, and them, need to get this vaccine.