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Swine Flu Vaccine: When?

Swine Flu Vaccine Timeline: Key Decisions, Key Milestones
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Making and Testing the Swine Flu Vaccine continued...

By mid-July, clinical tests of the vaccines sponsored by the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases will begin at the eight Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati; Emory University, Atlanta; Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; Saint Louis University; University of Iowa, Iowa City; University of Maryland, Baltimore; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

The five vaccine manufacturers will also start separate clinical tests in the U.S., Australia, and Europe. These tests will begin in July and August.

On July 29, the CDC's vaccine advisory committee will vote on who should be first in line to get the vaccine. Current indications suggest that children 0 to 4 years old will be will be at the top of the list, followed by school-age children. Children with asthma and pregnant women are also likely high-priority groups, as are critical emergency-response workers.

 

Preparing the Country for the Swine Flu Vaccine

Beginning with the July 9 Flu Summit, federal health officials stepped up work with state and local officials to lay the groundwork for a massive immunization effort. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has pledged $7.5 billion in preparedness funds and $350 million in direct grants to states and territories.

August

Administer Vaccine Now or Later?

By mid- to late-August, seasonal flu vaccine -- the normal, three-in-one vaccine against seasonal flu -- will start arriving. The CDC will recommend people get their flu shots or flu sniffs earlier than usual this year, to make way for possible pandemic flu vaccination.

If there seems to be a huge increase in pandemic flu cases, officials will be tempted to trigger vaccine delivery before safety and efficacy studies are completed.

Would that be safe? The pandemic swine flu bug is a type A H1N1 virus. One of the seasonal flu bugs is a type A H1N1 flu bug. Seasonal vaccine doesn't protect against the new swine flu bug. But there's a long history of safety and efficacy for flu vaccines made of H1N1 antigens, notes flu expert John Treanor, MD, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Rochester, New York.

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