February 18th, 2010
05:21 PM ET

WHO recommends H1N1 be part of next seasonal flu vaccine

By Miriam Falco
CNN Medical News Managing Editor

The World Health Organization is recommending that the H1N1 flu virus that’s currently circulating be included in the next seasonal flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.

The WHO meets twice a year to determine which flu strains are the most dominant and chooses three strains to include in the regular flu vaccine.

Based on recommendations from flu experts from around the world, it was decided at the meeting Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland, that the pandemic H1N1 influenza strain go into the vaccine for the coming fall and winter, according to the Special Adviser on Pandemic Influenza to Dr Keiji Fukuda, director-general of the WHO.

The two other flu strains to be included into the next flu shot or flu
spray are an H3N2 virus and a B-virus. Fukuda said that the fact that the new H1N1 flu strain will be included in the next seasonal flu vaccine does not mean that the H1N1 pandemic is over.

He told reporters in a teleconference that parts of Eastern Europe, parts of Northern and Western Africa and parts of Asia are seeing the highest levels of pandemic H1N1 flu activity.

In a meeting in September, the WHO had already recommended that the seasonal flu vaccine for the Southern Hemisphere contain the H1N1 strain.

Fukuda said so far, "over 200 million people have been vaccinated with
the H1N1 vaccine" and the safety profile of the vaccine has been very good.

While the WHO recommends which strains go into the next flu vaccine, it's up to individual countries to decide whether they want to combine all three recommended strains into one shot, or if they want to have each strain in doled out separately. The pandemic H1N1 strain was not included in this year's flu strain because it emerged in April, about two months after the three seasonal flu strains had been selected for the 2009/2010 flu season.

The Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological
Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is meeting next Monday to decide which flu strains will be included in the next seasonal flu vaccine for the United States.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Meleah

    I am very concerned about the safety profile of the swine flu vaccine. I am wondering if reactions to the vaccine are under-reported. There have been 3 cases (that I know in my small town in NC) of Guillian-Barret Syndrome occurring soon after the swine flu vaccine. This is a very serious disease that attacks the spine and peripheral nervous system, resulting in paralysis and difficulty breathing. Recovery will take 3 months to 1 year or longer. It will require blood plasma transplants and extensive physical therapy. According to the CDC, this reaction is very rare (1-2 in 100,000). However, after seeing this happen to a personal friend and spreading the word, I have met other cases. It would be interesting to see others' comments on whether they know someone who has had this. I understand it can happen after sickness as well. My friend had not been sick at all. It seems to be something we are not hearing about. Please research this before you consider getting the swine flu vaccine.

    February 19, 2010 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. shauna

    Not going to happen. I didn't get my shot and will never get the H1N1 shot. I'm just fine.
    I don't trust the WHO and don't believe anything they say.
    I also agree with Meleah. (orevious comment) Rsearch it! Do your own critical thinking and decide yourself.
    Your health is your own personal responsibility. The WHO and government should never decide for you. Its between you and your doctor. Do what is right for you.
    Hysteria won out over safety.
    The WHO organization should be held accountable for causing panic and fear.
    Adding the H1N1 to the seasonal shot is a joke!

    February 19, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Dismayed

    Guillian-Barret Syndrome occurs after flu infections, too. So they only valid way to tell if there is a problem with a vaccine is to look ar statistical evidence. Anecdotal evidence can be misleading.

    February 19, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Lauren Ring

    I am very concerned about this, that the H1N1 (and other swine variant) vaccine is being added to the seasonal flu shot. I have a neurological disorder, and have never had a complication with the normal, seasonal flu shot. However, I have actually HAD swine flu, and came out on top, and don't feel the need to get the vaccine when people are STILL reporting incidences of neurological impairment, which I definitely don't need more of. Keep them separate so that those of us who cannot get the H1N1 vaccine don't have to.

    February 19, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Matt

    You don't trust the WHO? Its made up of the world's leading scientists. If you won't trust them, who will you trust? The random BS you read on the internet? Sounds logical...

    February 19, 2010 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Factual

    Unbelievable that all these false rumors and fears spread about the H1N1 flu shot and the gullible public. Statistics has shown that there is no greater risk of the H1N1 flu vaccine compared with the regular flu shot.

    February 19, 2010 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. BP

    I got swine flu in June 2009, and it was aweful. The symptoms of swine flu itself aren't that bad, but it can cause a host of other issues, especially if you are predisposed to respiratory problems like me. I had the flu symptoms for about 2 weeks, but then ended up with pneumonia, which lasted another month. The infection spread to the outside of my lungs, and caused pleurisy which lasted until the end of September.
    If you have any common lung issues or at high risk due to other factors, it is very worth getting the vaccine, and one shot is better than two.
    My daughter had the H1N1 vaccine last fall because she is T1 diabetic and is high risk. She had no side effects from the vaccine at all.

    February 19, 2010 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kevin

    This is an excellent idea. Some of my clients were having to go to the flu clinic twice... once for the seasonal flu shot and another for the H1N1. Being that most of my client's are over 75 (and some 85+), this can be difficult as the flu clinics had lengthy waiting times.


    February 22, 2010 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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