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Flu facts

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Manitoba will have 134,000 vaccine doses on hand next week, with more shipments arriving weekly.

The provincial government recommends that children between six months and nine years receive two half doses of the shot 21 days apart.

During the H1N1 flu clinics, Manitobans eligible for free seasonal flu shots may be offered both flu shots if they have yet to receive their seasonal vaccinations.

Those who shouldn't receive the H1N1 vaccine:

infants under six months of age (the vaccine is not licensed for these babies);

people who are allergic to eggs or other influenza-vaccine components; and

those who have already had a lab-confirmed diagnosis of H1N1 flu.

The H1N1 flu shot and pregnant women:

Pregnant women are included in the top-priority list to receive the vaccine.

Most Canadians will receive a vaccine that contains an adjuvant -- a booster consisting of natural ingredients including water, oil and vitamin E. Adjuvants are used in many vaccines in Canada, but have not been used extensively with pregnant women.

Pregnant woman will be offered unadjuvanted H1N1 flu shots if they wish next month. Pregnant women can wait for that vaccine to arrive or talk to their doctors about getting the unadjuvanted shot earlier.

Is it safe?

The H1N1 flu vaccine has been reviewed by Ottawa for safety and effectiveness. Flu shots do not use a live virus to help build immunity, so people can't catch H1N1 flu from being vaccinated.

Possible side-effects:

Flu shots may cause side effects that usually last for a few days, but may last longer. Local reactions are common and normal. They include soreness, swelling or redness at the injection site. Other reactions can include fever, chills, headache, feeling tired or tenderness or pain in the muscles. Rare side-effects include Guillain-Barré syndrome, a form of paralysis that is usually temporary and is estimated to occur once in a million vaccinations.

For more information:

Check out the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority website at www.wrha.mb.ca or www.rham.mb.ca/rha for a list of other Manitoba regional health authorities.

Log onto the provincial government website at www.manitoba.ca

Call Manitoba Health Links at 788-8200 or toll-free provincewide at 1-888-315-9257

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