By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma children will be among the first to test out a new H1N1 vaccine, but some worried parents in the state are raising concerns of the possible dangers of the new shot.
Health experts predict the H1N1 virus will grow and spread quickly this coming flu season. Vaccine trials at IPS Research in Oklahoma is one of many sites across the country that will test the effectiveness and possible side effects of the new vaccine on those most vulnerable, especially children.
But mom Bridgette Miller said vaccines are what caused autism in her son and she worries the H1N1 vaccine trials are putting children at risk.
"Why are we using our kids, our children as guinea pigs," Miller said. "We can think back to '76 and the last time they tried this," she said.
The year 1976 was the last time the U.S. faced the swine flu virus. Millions were vaccinated and a large number of people claimed the vaccine caused paralysis or other side effects.
"There is always a risk when you use something new and there is no getting around that," said Dr. Louise Thurman, who will be assisting in the H1N1 vaccine trials with IPS. "The goal in immunizing children is to protect them from getting it. Second they may have a higher risk for complications."
Thurman said she doesn't think the public should panic about the possible risks of the new vaccine.
"We do know the history of other types of flu vaccines for many years now," she said. "My anticipation is the side effect profile will be very similar to existing flu vaccines."
Patients in the study will be followed for a year after receiving the vaccine. All side effects will be reported and at any point Thurman can stop the study if complications arise.
But Miller said she still has a lot of questions about the vaccine and thinks other parents should too.
"I do think these parents need to be educated and fully informed and possibly fully disclosed," Miller said.
Children in the trial will be given two vaccines and will go to a total of five office visits. Parents will also be allowed to take their child out of the study at any time.
The H1N1 vaccine could be available to the public in October or November.
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