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    Is there anything ‘mug consumers’ of swine flu vaccination can do to minimise their risk of contamination with multidose vials?

    Yes, be the first patient of the day to get it (the shelf life of the vaccine is only 24 hours after opening), and insist that the dose is drawn up from a new vial in your presence.

    In particular, don’t accept a dose in a syringe that is pre-prepared if it isn’t labelled (meaning the syringe itself is labelled with the name of the vaccine and the time and date it was prepared, not just taken from a box with other syringes).

    Things to discuss with your doctor:
    1. What are the benefits for me in preventing flu and its complications?
    2. What are the common side effects?
    3. What are the rare but serious side effects, and how rare are they? (in particular, nerve damage and serious allergic reactions)
    4. What measures are taken at the practice to minimize the risks associated with multidose vials?
    5. If you are concerned about the mercury containing preservative in the vaccine, how does the mercury content compare to mercury found ‘naturally’ in foods?


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