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Vaccination of 70 percent of US population could control swine flu pandemic

An aggressive vaccination program that first targets children and ultimately reaches 70 percent of the U.S. population would mitigate pandemic influenza H1N1 that is expected this fall, according to computer modeling and analysis of observational studies conducted by researchers at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute (VIDI) at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Published in the Sept. 11 issue of Science Express, the early online edition of the journal Science, the study – which includes the first estimate of the transmissibility of pandemic H1N1 influenza in schools – recommends that 70 percent of children ages 6 months to 18 years be vaccinated first, as well as members of high-risk groups as identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These groups include health care and emergency services personnel and those at risk for medical complications from pandemic H1N1 illness such as persons with chronic health disorders and compromised immune systems. Two doses of vaccine, delivered three weeks apart, may be needed to confer adequate protection to the virus.

Corresponding author Ira Longini, Ph.D., and colleagues emphasized that a combination of factors – the availability of an effective vaccine to protect people against pandemic H1N1, coupled with the timing of the outbreak – will determine how quickly the epidemic can be slowed. The researchers estimate that to bring the epidemic under control aggressive vaccination of the population must begin at least a month before the epidemic peak, concentrating on children as much as possible.

Via EurekAlert
 
 

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