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The H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Preventing swine flu

The H1N1 flu virus, more commonly called swine flu, is considered pandemic, putting people worldwide at risk of getting the disease. Experts are developing a vaccine to protect against H1N1, or swine flu.

H1N1

What is swine flu?

H1N1, more commonly known as swine flu, is part of the influenza A family of flu viruses, one of the most common causes of influenza in humans. The current swine flu pandemic has killed hundreds of people and can cause serious symptoms including fever, coughing, headaches, sore throat, fatigue and runny nose. The United States government and large pharmaceutical companies are developing a vaccine for widespread distribution in late fall 2009.

Who gets it?

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (AIP) is currently outlining a plan on who should receive access to the vaccine first. Target groups include pregnant women, children (under 6 years of age), healthcare practitioners and those with compromised immune systems.

What are the side effects?

There are no known side effects of the H1N1 vaccine because it's still under development, though reactions will likely be mild and could include swelling at the injection site and headache or fever.

Vaccine recommendation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to endorse the vaccine and finalize recommendations once the vaccine is available to the public.

What you need to know

Every state is developing a H1N1 vaccine delivery plan, information about which is available online.

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