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A large-scale immunization program against swine flu has started in the United States with the vaccination of 68,000 New Yorkers while a similar campaign will also get under way in Beijing this week.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/08/art_marti_vaccine_cnn.jpg caption="Brandon Marti, 13, receives a dose of the intranasal vaccine for the novel H1N1 flu Tuesday."]
In both cities priority will be given to children, who are deemed to be most at risk of catching the H1N1 virus, which has already killed more than 4,000 people among the 340,000 known to have been infected, according to the World Health Organization.
For 13-year-old Brandon Marti, the intranasal vaccine felt "good," "cold" and "watery" at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, New York, on Tuesday.
Marti, among the first to get vaccinated against the novel H1N1 influenza virus this week, said he would tell his friends and classmates that "the swine flu vaccine is good, and protects me from getting the swine flu."
New York has received a shipment of 68,000 doses of the FluMist variety vaccine. This form was made available before the injectable kind because it was ready first, said Thomas Skinner, spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials of the National Institutes of Health say that in clinical trials they have seen no serious side effects and that study subjects who have been immunized have generated a good response.
But some doctors have questioned if the vaccination program is really necessary for a virus that has mainly caused just mild symptoms, while some patients had asked if the vaccine had been sufficiently tested for safety. So do you believe the threat of swine flu outweighs any concerns about the vaccine? And would you get your child vaccinated? Leave your comment below.