It was announced Monday by US Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Bill Hall, that there will be approximately 45 million doses of the vaccine available by mid-October, which will be enough to immunize the priority groups that include pregnant women, children under age 4 and public health workers. This total falls about two-thirds short of earlier estimates of vaccine that would be developed by this time. It is anticipated, however, that approximately 20 millions doses can be produced weekly.
Vaccine testing of children began August 19th in five universities in the United States. Dr. Karen Kotloff, lead investigator of H1N1 studies at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, stated that children are tested in the same way that standard licensed flu vaccines are tested in adults. Medical professionals’ children are many of the ones that have enrolled to be tested. These 600 young persons are divided into three groups: 6 to 35 months; age 3 to 9 years; and age 10 to 17 years old. One-half of them receive 15 micrograms of antigens, which are the same as the three strains of seasonal flu vaccine. The other one-half receive 30 micrograms of antigens to determine if a higher dose is needed. Because adults over age 50 have more immunity to H1N1, and children have very little immunity to it, experts believe that the amount of vaccine needed may vary according to age.
As fall approaches, with school openings and various sports activities starting, it is imperative that school officials are prepared to stop the spread of the virus by preparing their students to protect themselves as much as possible. Parents, as well, can teach their younger students to cover their coughs and sneezes, not drink after anyone else, and wash their hands very often.
Everyone should take the seasonal flu shot as soon as it becomes available. Also, be sure to stock up on N95 masks just in case.
Source: ABC News