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SWINE FLU: VACCINE UPDATE

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by Kaitlin Ahern

Related: vaccines, children, health, swine flu,


Federal health officials are attempting to speed up availability of the swine flu vaccine for this fall, according to a July 23 Associated Press (AP) report. About 160 million doses of the vaccine will be available in the U.S. sometime in October, according to the report, but because the expected dose is two per person, the demand for the vaccine will most likely be higher than this supply.

Though studies are still being conducted to assess the correct dosage, federal health officials estimate two low-dose shots given about a month apart will provide adequate protection against the illness. A decision to increase the dose in shots will further cut the available supply of the vaccine.

To make up for this, FluMist, the makers of the nasal spray flu vaccine, is producing millions of doses per month. Here too lies a problem though — the production of the nasal spray far exceeds the production of its packaging, making the spray unusable without its sprayer component. Still, the company estimates 14 million swine flu nasal sprays will be available by October (in addition to the original 160 million doses), according to the AP report.

Those under 25 have contracted the swine flu in the highest numbers so far. Therefore, it is expected that school-age children, teenagers, and young adults will be the target group for this vaccine.


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