Doctor explains new flu vaccination

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A number of people have addressed concerns over the seasonal flu vaccine, which includes a strain of H1N1. According to Dr. Shane Speights, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, many people believe they'll get the flu due to the vaccination. Speights said that information is false.

"It does not give you the flu. The injection does not give you the flu. You may not feel good, but that's a good thing. That's your body's response to the vaccine. It's building up memory cells so it can fight it off later," said Speights.

Speights said every year, scientists and doctors create a concoction of strains they believe will be most harmful or prevalent during the influenza season. Speights said this year, the dosage will include strains for H1N1 and two seasonal influenzas.

"Early reports are saying that what we're seeing right now is an H3 type virus. That would be different than last year's virus. It'd be more in line with the typical influenza virus that we've seen from year to year," said Speights. "Here in Arkansas and northeast Arkansas, we're probably not going to see too many cases until on in to November and December, but it's really anybody's guess."

Speights said health professionals make educated decisions to best gauge which type of influenza virus will impact the flu season.

"Really it's a best guess. It's really a best guess, because you don't know for sure what's going to be the influenza strain for that year. So they put three different strains in there and most of the time they get it right. Sometimes they don't and those are your worst flu seasons when the vaccine doesn't work," said Speights.

"Generally the people that got the flu mist had a little bit better immunity because it was a live virus. Now it was a live virus that was basically kind of deactivated, so it wasn't near as strong as the actual virus," said Speights.

Speights said many people are frightened to received influenza vaccinations for a variety of reasons.

"Last year we vaccinated over 61-million people in the United States with the H1N1 vaccine. Everything was fine and so the vaccine did its job," said Speights. "I think a lot of people don't sit down and take the time to research what they're getting. They may not research the medication their doctor gave them as far as the prescription. They may not research the type of vaccine they're getting."

©2010 KAIT All rights reserved.