Are there different flu vaccines for Chinese people and roundeyes?
October 26, 2009 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Asking for my sister-in-law: is the swine flu vaccine formulation given to people in China (Shanghai) the same as the US version?

My sister-in-law's daughter, three years old, is returning to the US (from China) next month. She recently went through a bout of pneumonia and spent a few days in a hospital, although she did not test positive for the flu. Should she get a flu shot in Shanghai, the US (Minneapolis), or perhaps both? If she gets the vaccine in Shanghai, will it protect her against whatever roundeye version of the virus is prevalent in the US?
posted by Wet Spot to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
I think that all novel H1N1 vaccines are made from the same seed strain, and, happily, the circulating virus has diverged little if at all from that strain. There are different ways to manufacture influenza vaccine and I don't know anything about what's customary in China. Depending on where they are, there might be a question about the adequacy of the cold chain.

Keep in mind that she'll need two doses, optimally spaced 4 weeks apart, so she may have to get the second dose in the US no matter what, even if she could get one in China tomorrow. If they're available, there's probably no harm in getting a first dose now, and once she gets here she can get a second dose, and perhaps even a third if there's any question about the efficacy of the first dose, although that would be a question for her doctor.
posted by lakeroon at 5:48 PM on October 26, 2009

I don't know the specifics of Chinese vaccines, but in most countries, the H1N1 vaccine is formulated with adjuvants, which should increase efficacy, and probably negates the need for a second shot.
posted by j-dawg at 6:43 PM on October 26, 2009

That's a good point about the adjuvant - I did see just this morning some results showing that gsk's Pandemrix induces immunity in kids with one dose, and that's adjuvanted iirc. But, OP, ask before relying on this.
posted by lakeroon at 9:01 PM on October 26, 2009

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