Early research shows no increase in a rare neurological condition associated with the vaccine developed to combat the H1N1 pandemic, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said during a weekly briefing with reporters on the influenza strain also known as swine flu.
Frieden said that results, through preliminary, found no increase rates of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which was linked to an influenza vaccination campaign more than 30 years ago. “The likelihood that we will have a 1976-like problem with this year’s H1N1 influenza vaccine is vanishingly remote,” Frieden said. “This is reassuring.”
He said the agency will continue to monitor and investigate adverse events associated with the vaccine, which was first made available in early October.
Influenza activity continues to decline, with 25 states reporting widespread activity, while supplies of the H1N1 vaccine have increased, Frieden said. As of Friday, 73 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine were available and another 10 million doses were expected in the coming week. He stressed the importance of vaccination for those at greatest risk and those that are historically under-vaccinated, including children. The CDC reported 210 pediatric deaths associated with the H1N1 through Nov. 28.
“We don’t know what the future will bring,” he said. “We have even more confidence in the safety of the vaccine and even more availability of vaccine so that people can get vaccinated.”