H1N1 is still considered a Priority for At-Risk Groups


Washington, D.C. (ConcienciaNews) – Elizabeth Lopez was not sure whether she would vaccinate her three children against H1N1influenza or not, she was doubtful, but recently, she attended a municipal meeting where she was informed on the disease and the risks her children could face up.

“After this, I want to vaccinate them, especially the kids who go to school, but I have to confess that I am still doubtful,” said Lopez, who claims that she has heard a lot about the risks of the vaccine in the media that she is not 100% sure about the vaccination.

But in a municipal meeting in Washington D.C. at the medical center Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care in Washington, the Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the parents that they would have no problems and that the vaccine does not have any counterproductive effects.

“What we know is that we have a safe vaccine,” Sebelius said. “Pregnant women are the first ones getting the vaccine, they have more probabilities to get sick and have more complications, and the way to protect the baby through the vaccine,” she said.

Still, Lopez said that the two school kids attending elementary school will be the ones who will be vaccinated, but she will wait to vaccinate her third son. “He is a boy with learning disabilities so I would rather wait to make more questions to the doctor,” said Lopez who is a housewife born in Nicaragua.

The secretary added that children between 6 and 24 months of age have a higher risk; therefore, they must be vaccinated in order to prevent complications. “Children with diabetes, asthma or diseases compromising the lungs have to have the priority and be vaccinated.”

Doctor Felipe Lobelo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assures that in the United States influenza continues to grow and even more now that the winter season is approaching. “Influenza comes in waves…it is important not to lower one’s guard and to continue with the vaccination and prevention measures such as washing your hands constantly and not going to work if symptoms show up.”

Lobelo estimates that at least 22 million people in the country have been infected with the disease, with the virus, nearly 98 thousand people have been admitted to a hospital and approximately 3900 people have died due to this infection.

According to Lobelo until the last week there were 50 million doses especially for priority groups. “We expect to have more vaccines every week for all the risk groups. The vaccine is not produced overnight. The production of the vaccine takes around 6 to 8 months.”

The Disease Will Continue To Affect More People

Lobelo stands out that influenza in the country continues to increase and in some areas the activity is decreasing a little, but this could rise as weeks go on and as the season expands until March or April probably.

“This is a new virus that appeared recently and none of us have experienced it before and, of course, we have no defenses in our immune system,” Lobelo added.

It is recommended that even if the person has got the virus before, he/she must be vaccinated because he/she could catch it again and even more if the person lives with children under 6 months old.

The H1N1 vaccine is not the same used against seasonal flu, Lobelo assures that these are two different viruses, and the groups with higher risk must be vaccinated against both.

“We know that the seniors are not a priority for the H1N1 vaccine, but if they are taking care of a baby who has not been vaccinated yet, then they must be vaccinated. Many times, it is grandma who takes care of her grandchildren; in that case, they must be vaccinated,” said Teresa Nino, Head of Foreign Affairs of the Health and Human Services Department.