News / Health

WHO: Vaccines for H1N1 Influenza Are Safe

Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization says vaccines for H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic are safe and people should have no fear of debilitating side affects.  A Senior WHO Official warns people are putting their health and lives at risk by not getting vaccinated.  The Swine Flu pandemic tops the agenda of this week's Executive Board meeting. 

The World Health Organization says pandemic viruses have replaced seasonal flu in almost all countries.  And, it says these viruses are going to stick around for a long time.

As a consequence, WHO says vaccines against the disease are the best means of protection.  Next month, scientists will be meeting at WHO headquarters to discuss the composition of future vaccines. 

Keiji Fukuda is Special Adviser to the WHO Director-General on Pandemic Influenza.  He says one of the big questions the scientists will face is to determine what patterns are likely to be seen in the fall and the winter. 

"Right now, pandemic infections are occurring in many countries, but the overall pattern is decreasing," said Keiji Fukuda. "We see that the highest activity is in northern Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and southern Asia.  And, we can also say that the second wave of infections peaked very early in some parts of the northern Hemisphere." 

Fukuda says there is a lot of discussion and speculation as to whether another wave of infections will occur in the late winter and spring months.  He says it is unclear whether the H1N1 pandemic virus will replace seasonal viruses to some extent. 

He says a lot of attention has been focused on pandemic vaccines.  People question whether they are needed and whether they are safe.

He says more than 265 million doses of vaccines have been distributed.  And, of them, an estimated 175 million doses have been used.

"The safety monitoring for the vaccines has been unusually high," he said. "And, the coordination on the reporting has been unusually intense.  And, at this point we can say that, again, no unusual safety issues have been reported.  So, we have been looking very closely for any emergence of things such as Guillaume Barre's syndrome, unexplained deaths and so on.  And, right now, we do not see the emergence of these kinds of patterns." 

Fukuda says the World Health Organization has received pledges of 200 million doses of pandemic vaccine from pharmaceutical companies and governments.  He says these vaccines will be distributed to 95 poor countries that cannot afford to buy them.

So far, he says two countries have received the vaccine and more doses of the vaccine will be distributed to another 15 countries this month.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs