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Experts address swine flu myths

October 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The swine flu vaccine is now here throughout much of Southern California. And as doctors try to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus, they're encountering lots of myths about the swine flu.In the pediatric ICU, 12-year-old Giselle Isais is fighting an uphill battle against swine flu.

"The fever got to about 104 degrees and she started having delusions," said parent Rosa Isais.

Giselle has cerebral palsy, so her mom wanted to get her immunized against the H1N1 virus, but the vaccine wasn't available until now.

Vaccination is a top priority for Giselle's mom. But an Eyewitness News poll conducted by Survey USA found many people are hesitant.

We asked which one reason best explains why you won't get a vaccination? The top three specific reasons were: don't believe they are safe, don't like needles and don't believe they work.

Dr. Jill Hoffman, from Childrens Hospital L.A., says people shouldn't fear technology that has been proven to be safe and effective for 15 years. She says the H1N1 virus is simply another strain being made into a vaccine. Next year, the virus will probably be added into the regular flu vaccine.

And Dr. Hoffman says it is another myth that you can get sick from flu shots.

"We know that doesn't happen. There is no scientific data to support that you can get flu like illness from the vaccine," said Dr. Hoffman.

While children, infant care providers, health care workers and pregnant women need to get immunized first, Dr. Hoffman recommends everyone get an H1N1 vaccination when more doses become available.

Giselle's mom says her daughter would rather have a shot than what she's going through now.

"Yes their arm may swell up and they may cry, but that versus being on a machine," said Rosa. "I'd rather have them cry for a little while."

We place a call into the L.A. County Department of Health. If you're provider runs out of H1N1 vaccine then you should check out your local pharmacy. The vaccine is free, but they will probably charge an administrative fee of about $15 to $20.


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