I received my swine flu vaccination yesterday as I belong to the category of people considered more ‘at-risk’ from the virus. The vaccine was administered by the practice nurse at our local surgery and it caused minimum discomfort. However, it seems that the mixed messages emanating from the vaccination campaign, are causing major headaches.
On arrival at the surgery, the reception staff were clearly harassed from trying to deal with multiple enquiries about the vaccine. I was asked to fill out a consent form which requested my name, age, at-risk status and a PPSN (Personal Public Service Number). The information supplied with the form clearly stated that two doses of the vaccine would be required, at least three weeks apart. I was surprised to read of this as I had understood from the vaccination campaign, that one dose was sufficient for adults.
While having the injection, I asked the nurse to clarify the situation and she confirmed that a second dose would be required. She asked me to make a booking for it at the reception desk on the way out. When I consulted the receptionists, the story changed again. I was told that one dose may be sufficient for adults but that as studies are still under way to confirm this, I should check back with the surgery in a few weeks time. Having waited the required 15 minutes to ensure that no adverse reaction occurred to the vaccine, I left the surgery feeling decidely sorry for the staff caught up in this evolving campaign.
On checking out the HSE’s website (Frequently asked questions for Healthcare Professionals – last updated 28th October 2009), it read…
“Current recommendation is two doses of pandemic vaccine are required at least three weeks apart. Preliminary studies indicate that one dose might be enough to give full protection for those aged 13 and over but this has not yet been confirmed”.
I recommend that people consult the HSE website regularly for the latest updates on the vaccination programme rather than bombarding the busy GP surgeries with phonecalls.
For information, visit http://www.swineflu.ie or Freephone 1800 94 11 00
Today, I’ve experienced some of the common side effects of the vaccine and they’ve served as a welcome reminder of the need to be protected from the swine flu. Any adverse reactions to the vaccine should be reported to the Irish Medicines Board online.