H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Vaccine
What Patients with PIDD Need to Know
When the H1N1 vaccine becomes available, all family members of patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDD) should be immunized to prevent them from bringing home the swine flu virus to expose the patient with PIDD. These families should make sure the vaccine they use is a “killed” one, as there is also a live vaccine nasal mist being developed which may present a risk, particularly to infants with Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID). Patients with antibody deficiencies will probably not respond to immunization, although some other patients with primary immunodeficiencies, including those with CGD and complement deficiencies, do respond. Please ask your physician as to whether you or your child would benefit from immunization. It is important that all family members also receive the regular seasonal flu vaccine in addition to the H1N1 vaccine since they are separate vaccines and each is important to protect our patients from exposure to influenza.
For more information about the H1N1 Vaccine, please go to the CDC Website
Currently, the Immune Deficiency Foundation understands that individuals with PIDD have at least the same risk of contracting swine flu as does the rest of the population. The same type of anti-viral medicine, i.e. Tamiflu or Relenza, which is effective for people with normal immune systems, would be effective for patients with PIDD who get the H1N1 influenza.
Influenza can be diagnosed rapidly by a test done in physician offices. If the test is positive, then one of the two medications can be prescribed to reduce or shorten the symptom period. However, it would be wise to contact your pediatrician or primary care physician first, before going to their office.
You may want to stay away from crowded public places, such as shopping malls, if you are concerned. Most people can get information from the national media and from their physicians on other ways to prevent exposure, as well as when to use added precautionary measures.
For more, updated information on the Swine Flu, please go to the CDC Website