Flu Primer

POSTED: Monday, October 5, 2009 - 5:09pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:25pm

Health care workers received the first Swine Flu vaccine today and there is more coming later this week.

While that vaccine protects against the Swine Flu, you still need the regular flu shot.

With two different vaccines out there, there are lots of questions about who needs what, when, and how many doses.

Health care workers in Indiana and Tennessee got the first doses of the new Swine Flu vaccine today. The seasonal vaccine for regular flu is already out there. Two different flu vaccines in a shot or spray? That has some people confused...

"I'm confused about, you know, how many shots they need, and whether it's two or three."

Here's the deal: If you are a healthy adult over 25, get your regular flu shot but don't rush to get the Swine Flu vaccine. High risk adults and children need both.

"There are two different viruses that could be circulating together throughout the community. So if you're protected against one, you would not be protected against the other."

If you are a health care worker, if you are under 24 years old or if your child is under six months old, you are at risk. Get both vaccines right away. Pregnany women and chronically ill adults are at risk too.
But they cannot get the spray. They have to get the shot. For kids, it is more complicated. Babies under six months old cannot get any vaccine at all. Children over 10 need only one dose of the Swine Flu vaccine.
Children under 10 need two doses of the vaccine. But do not forget:
They also need the regular flu shot. One dose if they have had it before. Two doses if they have not. And remember: All that is in addition to the two Swine Flu vaccines. If you need two doses of of a vaccine, they have to be 21 days apart. So parents may need to pull out a calendar to keep it all straight. Want the spray instead of the shot?You have to be over two and under 50 with no chronic illnesses. And you cannot get the seasonal and Swine Flu spray on the same day.

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