Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Give Kids First Shot at Swine Flu Vaccine?

Vaccination Program That Targets Children First May Lessen Spread of Swine Flu This Fall
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 10, 2009 -- An all-out vaccination program that would target children first could mitigate the impact of an H1N1 swine flu pandemic this fall, new research indicates.

Such a concerted vaccination effort could lead to coverage of 70% of the U.S. population, say researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute.

Swine Flu Outbreak: Get the Facts

Swine Flu Slideshow

Learn more about the H1N1 swine flu and see what you can do to stay healthy.

View the slideshow.

Their analysis, aided by computer modeling, is published in the Sept. 11 issue of Science Express, an early online edition of the journal Science.

The study recommends that 70% of children between 6 months and 18 years old be vaccinated first in such a program, along with members of other high-risk groups, including health care workers and people with chronic medical problems.

The researchers say two doses of vaccine, administered three weeks apart, may provide enough protection against the virus.

A combination of factors, including the availability of an effective vaccine and the timing of an outbreak, will determine how quickly an epidemic can be slowed, according to co-author Ira Longini Jr., PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington.

“Our estimates of pandemic H1N1 in households, schools, and in the community places this virus in the higher range of transmissibility,” lead author Yang Yang, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, says in a news release.

The report also estimates that:

  • Children are likely to experience the highest illness attack rates.
  • The typical student will infect an average of 2.4 school mates.
  • 30%-40% of flu transmission occurs in households, about 20% in schools, and the rest in the workplace and the community.
  • Pandemic spread may cause illness in 25%-29% of the world population in one year, resembling what happened during the 1957-58 Asian influenza A (H2N2) pandemic.
  • The average time between the onset of illness in a person and onset of illness in someone that person infects may be 2-3 days.

H1N1 already has become the dominant flu strain in the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season is under way. Vaccination increases immunity and slows spread of infection, and reduces risk for flu complications and death.

The researchers also say that social distancing and antiviral medications can be effective in offsetting spread of H1N1 when combined with vaccination on a mass scale.

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat