'Half of US' to get swine flu vaccine3rd August 2009
Health officials in the United States say that around half of Americans are likely to be vaccinated as part of the country's plans to fight the current H1N1 influenza pandemic.
The young, pregnant women and front-line healthcare workers would be first in line to receive the 160 million immunisations currently being made available, according to a US government advisory committee.
Beginning in October, the vaccination campaigns aims to bring two shots of the vaccine to each person to be immunised.
If supplies run out, members of higher risk categories will be given priority.
They will also include people who care for babies, and children of six months to four years of age.
Kathy Neuzil, of the Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices, said the main point was that roughly half of the US population would receive the vaccine, with younger people and healthcare workers prioritised.
She said young adults aged 19 to 24, and adults with high-risk medical conditions would be the next group to get priority for the vaccination programme.
Older people appear so far to have higher levels of natural immunity to the H1N1 pandemic influenza strain.
Cases of H1N1 appear to have peaked 10 weeks ago, with the number of reports of cases on the decline across the country.
But cases are expected to rise again as winter comes to the northern hemisphere.
The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said in a study published last week that pregnant women were far more likely to need to go to hospital if they caught H1N1 than other patients.
The study warned that expenctant mothers were four times more likely to be hospitalised from swine flu than the general public.
Without speedy anti-viral treatment, there was a risk of complications with the pregnancy, it added.
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Title: 'Half of US' to get swine flu vaccine
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 12338
Date Added: 3rd Aug 2009