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First Doses of Swine Flu Vaccine Coming Soon

CDC Says 3.4 Million Doses Will Be Ready in Early October
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Two Flu Shots for Kids

The good news from clinical trials of H1N1 swine flu vaccine is that healthy adults need only one dose of vaccine for protection.

But the package inserts being readied for the vaccine say that kids under age 10 years will need two doses of vaccine, given three weeks apart.

"We anticipate that two doses will be required for younger children," Butler said.

Do You Need Vaccine if You've Already Had a Flu-Like Illness?

Swine flu is, of course, already here and moving like wildfire. It's now widespread in 21 states, with cases in all 50 states.

"It's a very strange thing for us to see that amount of influenza at this time of year," Daniel Jernigan, MD, deputy director of the CDC's flu division, said at the news conference. "In the Southeast right now there's a considerable amount of influenza disease, very consistent with the earlier opening of schools in the Southeast. ... We may expect that increases in numbers of cases will occur in other parts of the country, where kids are now getting back together."

It's clear that a lot of people will have had the flu by the time the flu vaccine arrives.

If you've had a flu-like illness since the pandemic began, will you need a flu shot? Yes, Jernigan says.

It's true that you're immune to swine flu if you've already had it. But H1N1 swine flu isn't the only bug that causes flu-like symptoms.

Unless you've had a laboratory-confirmed case of swine flu -- not just a rapid flu test in a doctor's office, but a lab test of a nasal swab sample -- you really can't know that you've had the flu. And such tests aren't being done on people with mild cases of flu.

"There's no evidence that, even if you have immunity, getting the vaccine would cause problems or increase the chances of a reaction," Butler said. "Certainly for myself, if I had been ill in the past six months without a lab confirmation, I would definitely want to get the vaccine."

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