When testing of the new vaccine for H1N1 swine flu began, experts believed most adults would need two doses because it is a new virus. But two new studies show most adults are protected after just one dose.
Health officials battling the first flu pandemic in 41 years got some good news recently: Just one dose of vaccine appears to protect most adults. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said the news was encouraging.
"It now appears that most of the folks have a robust immune response in eight to ten days of the first vaccine which is very positive news," she said.
A U.S. vaccine study has proven to be just as effective as a vaccine trial in Australia. The news is surprising, and welcome.
With more vaccine available, this means the H1N1 vaccine can inoculate twice as. "In essence, it mitigates some of the problems that we're talking about when you talk about inadequate supplies for everyone," he said.
U.S. health officials say 98 percent of the flu cases they are seeing are caused by the H1N1 virus. The vaccine should be available by mid-October. But schools are already open, the weather is turning cooler, and the flu season is underway in the northern hemisphere.
A total of 60 students have come down with the virus at the University of Minnesota Campus in Minneapolis. Some are concerned. One student said "I'm just really hearing that it's going to expand and maybe explode on college campuses. It's scary."
In the meantime, health officials are urging people to get the seasonal flu shot which is available now. They recommend that people be immunized for H1N1 separately.
Health officials say those in high risk groups should be among the first to be vaccinated; pregnant women and children, young adults, people with chronic medical conditions, those who care for young children and health care workers.
Results of trials involving children and pregnant women are expected in a couple of weeks.