Some vaccine info

Nice article from NY Times discussing some hard numbers about the swine flu vaccine and debunking some myths. In particular, this one:

One worrying aspect, said Dr. John Santa, the director of health ratings at Consumer Reports, was that 69 percent of parents who were undecided or opposed to shots said they “wanted their children to build up their natural immunity.”

“Your body produces exactly the same antibodies, whether it’s from a ‘natural’ infection or from a vaccine,” Dr. Santa said. “If your child is the one that dies, you’ve paid a very high price for ‘natural’ immunity.”

The value of a good vaccine is that it results in an immune response that is the same as a normal infection, but the patient does not get sick. The new vaccine is produced in the same fashion as normal flu vaccines and with the same safety factors.

in fact, it might be more effective than the seasonal flu vaccines. For the seasonal flu vaccines, we have to guess which forms of the flu will be traveling the country in the fall, because vaccine production needs to be started many months earlier. Sometimes we guess wrong and the vaccine is not as protective as it should be.

In this case, we know exactly what form to create the vaccine against. It will be interesting to see if the numbers of people who want the vaccine changes as the outbreak spreads further and as vaccine becomes more available.

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