Thursday, November 12, 2009

H1N1 Revisited

H1N1 revisited

The H1N1 vaccine is now becoming available in many schools and community health centers. Whether to get yourself or your child immunized is a decision that has caused much angst. As I have stated in past newsletters, I have strongly supported the use of the yearly seasonal flu vaccine. But I had not, as yet, supported the use of the new H1N1 vaccine. I feel that building up your bodies immunity thorugh a healthy diet and lifestyle, along with an increase in Vitamin D is the best and safest way to prevent influenza. Please look at the following excerpt from the Vitamin D council website on Vitamin D and flu. .

New information has been gathered about the production and manufacturing of the H1N1 vaccine that has lowered my fears about this new vaccine.

So I am now led to believe that the H1N1 vaccine is another option in prevention of H1N1.

Why the change of heart?

A few of my earlier objections to the H1N1 vaccine were:
-the presumed quickened production cycle of vaccine production
-the possibility of untested and potentially unsafe adjuvants (additives that help provoke a stronger immune response)
-newer untested manufacturing processes
-low rate of hospitalizations and death did not warrant a new vaccine
-being a "testee" for a new vaccine

Let me explain how these concerns have decreased.

I viewed a letter from Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of FDA which can be read in its entirety here. This letter calmed many of my objections about the H1N1 vaccine. It stated that the manufacturing process and production cycle of the H1N1 vaccine was followed almost identically to the production of the yearly seasonal flu vaccine. No new adjuvants or untested additives were used in the production. The hospitalization and death rate have not been higher in H1N1 influenza, but this virus strain appears to be more contagious than most. So as a percentage of the population infected, it does not appear more deadly. But as so many more people have become ill with H1N1 than with seasonal flu, there have been many hospitalizations and deaths. More worrisome is that the H1N1 flu is most dangerous to healthy children, due to their strong immune response. It appears that some children's immune response go into overdrive, which results in more hospitalizations and deaths. As with other flu's, it is also dangerous to individuals with weak immune systems, chronic medical conditions such as asthma, cancer or heart disease, and pregnant women. So as I recommend the seasonal flu vaccine each year, I no longer see a reason to oppose the H1N1 vaccine.

But as immunizations are a personal health matter, it is still up to each individual to decide for themselves if they want the vaccine. My office will not be ordering the H1N1 vaccine, as there will be many places in the community offering the vaccine in the future. To find a location please click here. At present, if you choose to get the vaccine, I would stick to the injectable version as I am not convinced that the nasal mist has enough data behind it to be pronounced safe or effective.

Again, whether to receive the H1N1 vaccine is up to each individual's philosophy on health, and I will support whatever decision you choose!

To Good Health !!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311

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