Our guest blogger is Ari Brown, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She works full-time in private practice in Austin, Texas.
When the newswires reported Tuesday that 800,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine, my office’s phone lines started ringing off the hook. If you have a child who received the H1N1 vaccine, keep on reading.
First of all, this was NOT a recall for safety issues. The particular vaccine, made by Sanofi-Pasteur, was recalled because it may not be potent enough for a person receiving the vaccine to mount an adequate immune response. So, any unused doses sitting in doctors’ offices and clinics need to be discarded.
Specifically, there are four batches or “lots” of single-dose, pre-filled syringe thimerosal preservative-free Sanofi brand vaccine intended for children ages six months to three years of age that are being recalled. The batches (lots) are: UT023DA, UT028DA, UT028CB, and UT030CA.
Now, the next natural question is, what do you do if your child did receive one or two doses of this particular H1N1 vaccine? Nothing. Don’t worry about it. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control believe that kids who got this vaccine likely have adequate protection because the potency of the vaccine is only marginally less that the desired level found to be effective in vaccine testing. So, you do not need to call your child’s doctor and ask if your child received one of these vaccine batches or request that your child receive an additional H1N1 booster shot to ensure protection. (Maybe I should put that last sentence in bold print!)
The 800,000 doses of this H1N1 vaccine is only about 1% of the entire vaccine manufactured. There are other H1N1 vaccine products that are available to use if your child still needs to get a first/second dose.
And yes, I still recommend that your child get vaccinated against H1N1 disease. I’m concerned that the holiday travel season may enable this germ to spread around.
Speaking of which, here are a few tips during winter travel season:
- Be obsessive about hand washing, especially with air travel. Take hand gel or antiseptic wipes in your carry-on bag so you and your kids’ hands can be cleaned before they munch on those yummy on-board snacks.
- If your child has a fever, isolate him from others until he is fever-free. If you have family gathering for holiday celebrations, taking home an illness is one gift everyone can live without.
- If you are leaving town, find out if your child’s doctor has a colleague she can refer you to in your destination-just in case. Kids always pick weekends, holidays, and exotic destinations to get sick! You don’t have to head to an ER or minor emergency clinic just because you are visiting from out of town.