Not 1, Not 2, But 3!

Brace yourself – that’s the number of flu shots that may be necessary to protect oneself from the upcoming flu season. Two vaccines will be required for the H1N1 strain (swine flu) and one for seasonal flu.

As of yet, only 45 million swine flue vaccines will be ready by Oct. 15, a far cry from the 120 million doses originally anticipated. Pregnant women, public health workers and small children will be the first to be immunized and this priority group numbers approximately 160 million individuals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After those considered high-risk are inoculated, U.S. health officials will recommend that people ages 25 through 64 receive H1N1 shots. It is interesting to note that those 65 and older are actually at lower risk of contracting swine flu, since the flu strains they encountered as children provides some protection.  As soon as the seasonal flu shot is available it is highly recommended that all seniors get them. Once all those under 65 receive the  swine flu vaccine, inoculations will be recommended for seniors.

The vaccine production is moving slower than expected due to the slow growth of the vaccine substance, as well as a shortage of manufacturers available to actually package the vaccine.

“The amount vaccine manufacturers are getting out of millions of eggs is less than expected, and it’s taking longer to make,” explained Dr. John Treanor, professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

The second delay factor is being addressed by the government who has increased efforts to recruit more companies for packaging.

24. August 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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