H1N1 flu vaccines to be used in 2010 influenza season

Pandemic influenza A H1N1 viruses are becoming much more common than the current seasonal influenza. WHO health experts have recommended that vaccines for use in the 2010 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain the following:

– an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus;
– an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus;
– a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

At this time, WHO is not in a position to advise whether there should be one trivalent influenza vaccine containing all 3 viruses, or whether there should be separate vaccines for pandemic and seasonal influenza. WHO would give guidance on this issue after its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts, which makes recommendations on immunisation, considers the question in late October.

WHO issued these early guidelines to health authorities and vaccine makers, pharmaceutical companies.

WHO is currently coordinating the production of vaccines against pandemic H1N1 or swine flu, for this year’s influenza season in the northern hemisphere, which will start in November as the northern winter approaches.

Seasonal influenza vaccination is the primary means of influenza prevention. Seasonal vaccines are effective for those who wish to reduce their risk of influenza and some countries advise use in travelers to influenza-affected countries.

Influenza vaccines are one of the most effective ways to protect people from contracting illness during influenza epidemics and pandemics. Other preventive and treatment measures include anti-viral and other drugs, social distancing and personal hygiene. These measures must be used both prior to development of a pandemic vaccine and following the availability of a vaccine, expected in limited supply at first.

Source: World Health Organization, Switzerland

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