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Sebelius Urges Americans to Get Swine Flu Vaccine
Date:10/7/2009

HHS secretary says shots are made in same way as seasonal flu vaccine, and children are vulnerable to the disease,,

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius renewed her call Wednesday for Americans -- especially those in high-risk groups -- to get vaccinated against the H1N1 swine flu, calling the vaccine "safe and secure."

Appearing on the morning TV news programs, Sebelius reiterated her belief that the vaccine is safe, saying it "has been made exactly the same way seasonal vaccine has been made, year in and year out."

Interviewed on CBS's The Early Show, she said federal health officials have identified four groups of people at particular risk from the H1N1 swine flu: pregnant women, health-care workers, children with underlying health conditions ages 6 months to 24 years, and older Americans with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease and asthma, the Associated Press reported.

In an interview on NBC's Today show, Sebelius said children are especially vulnerable to infection from the H1N1 virus. "This flu is a younger person's flu," she said. "Kids have no immunity to the flu ... children are great carriers of bugs and viruses."

Because of the danger of easy transmission, especially in school and day-care settings, Sebelius said, "We strongly urge parents to take precautionary steps. Flu kills every year ... and we've got a great vaccine to deal with it."

Sebelius' comments echoed those of the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference that the H1N1 vaccine is safe and effective with no serious side effects yet reported.

"With the production of this strain [of vaccine], we have cut no corners," Frieden said. "This flu vaccine is made as flu vaccine is made each year, by the same companies, in the same
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