September 11, 2009
Stan Phillips wasted no time getting his seasonal flu shot. But he's still unsure about the H1N1 flu vaccine that's due out in mid-October.
"I want to see what the reactions are by those who take it first," Phillips said.
One thing that may put Stan's mind at ease: one dose of the H1N1 vaccine is enough to protect most healthy adults rather than the two shots doctors originally thought necessary. And the vaccine appears to take full effect within 8- to 10-days of injection.
"This is very good news for the vaccination program, both with regard to the supply of vaccine, as well as its potential efficacy," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health.
One dose means tight supplies of the vaccine won't be stretched as thin. U.S. health officials are readying 195 million doses for this flu season.
Pregnant women, health workers, and people with serious health conditions will be the first to receive the swine flu vaccine. Trials are still being done to see if children and high-risk patients will need more than one dose.
Aside from the N1H1 vaccine, doctors are also urging people to get their annual, garden-variety flu shot because, that, too will hit hard this year.
"The levels of flu activity that we're seeing right now, in September, are extremely unusual for this time of year," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, of the Centers for Disease Control.
The regular flu season may have already started but the H1N1 virus never went away and accounts for about 98 percent of the flu activity experts are seeing today.
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