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Difference Between Adjuvanted and Unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccines

swine_flu_bookAdjuvanted vs Unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccines

An adjuvant is a substance that boosts the individual’s immunity response to the vaccine. It is added in vaccines to lessen the need for more virus or ‘antigen’, allowing a smaller dose to be used. It is highly recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the use of less material allows the community to immunize more people in a timely manner.

Although empirical evidence suggests that the adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccine is just as safe in comparison to unadjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccine, pregnant women are still advised to acquire the unadjuvanted vaccine because there is not enough safety information available for adjuvanted ones. Adjuvanted flu vaccines are not yet widely tested in the pregnant group and needs further studies.

Whenever possible, unadjuvanted vaccines are recommended for pregnant women and considered to be safe at all stages of pregnancy. However, in cases where unadjuvanted vaccines are lacking or not available, an adjuvanted vaccine could be used.

The reason why pregnant women, especially in early stages, are not recommended to get adjuvanted H1N1 vaccines is more on safety precaution. Pregnant women are not more likely to get infected but if they do catch the flu virus, complications are more likely to occur. Pneumonia and severe respiratory distress are some of the possible complications which put both mother and baby at risk.

Based on recent studies, out of ten people who get the unadjuvanted flu shot, only six people are said to acquire immunity. It is significantly smaller than the expert’s inference of adjuvanted flu vaccine’s protection rates which can reach as high as nine out of ten. When it comes to effectiveness, the adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccine is the recommended vaccine for everyone over the age of six months, except of course for pregnant women.

The extra adjuvants in adjuvanted flu vaccines can help provide extra defense against imminent virus modifications. In case that the virus becomes more potent, the person who had taken the adjuvanted vaccine may have acquired enough immunity to battle the flu virus. Unadjuvanted flu vaccine however, does not have the immuno-boosting qualities; to make an effective unadjuvanted flu vaccine, it will need the improved virus (antigen) to make new antibodies.


1. Adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines, although considered safe in general, are not yet extensively tested in pregnant women thus safety data is not adequate. Unadjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines have been tested in all groups and considered to be safe.
2. Adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines are added with substance called adjuvants to help boost the immune response of humans. Unadjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines use no boosting substances.
3. Adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines use less virus material while unadjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines requires plenty of the material to be effective.
4. Adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines are more recommended and prevalently used in many areas. Unadjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines are chiefly used by pregnant women for safety precautions.
5. Adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines could provide extra protection against a possible amplification of virus potency. Unadjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccines are almost useless against an improved virus.

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