Government Plans Intense Monitoring For Swine Flu Vaccine Side Effects

Although health officials say they have no reason to expect any unusual problems with the vaccine that will likely be available next month, the government is establishing an extensive tracking system to watch for possible side effects, the Associated Press/Washington Post report. The effort is important because the success of the vaccination campaign, in which authorities hope to inoculate half the U.S. population in a few months, depends on the public's confidence about the safety of the vaccine.

"Health authorities will have to tell quickly if there seem to be more cases of a particular health problem than usual," according to the AP report. "So the CDC is racing to compile a list of what's normal" -- tracking weekly rates for heart attacks and miscarriages, among other things. "Any spike would trigger a quick investigation to see whether the vaccine increases risk and by how much, so health officials could issue warnings" (9/28).

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