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CDC: Swine flu vaccine proved safe

Federal health officials released a report Wednesday that said the swine flu vaccination presented no greater threat than the seasonal flu shot in regards to a paralyzing nerve disease.

The worrisome link between swine flu vaccine and the disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome was heightened in 1976, when dozens of cases broke out during a swine flu vaccination campaign, prompting the federal government to shut down the effort.

But analysis by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that about the same rate of people contracted GBS after receiving this recent swine flu vaccine as have historically contracted it from common flu vaccine.

The analysis was released as part of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report reviewed the rate of people who contracted GBS after receiving the vaccination, beyond the general rate of the illness in the overall population. With the common seasonal flu vaccination, about one extra person in a million vaccinated contracted the disease. Regarding the swine flu, 0.8 more cases were found.

The CDC said that ongoing analysis of other potential side effects has revealed the swine flu vaccine, also called H1N1, has so far proved safe.

“Ongoing CDC research continues to show that the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is safe," CDC spokeswoman Rosa Herrera said. "Data show that the vaccine’s safety profile looks similar to the time-tested profile of seasonal flu vaccine.”

A total of 27 of the 12 million vaccinated people who were reviewed contracted GBS. None of them died, officials said. The analysis looked at areas in 10 states, including metro Atlanta. The report did not provide state-by-state breakdowns.