It is decided. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has met, ruminated, voted, and now decrees that pregnant women, health care workers, and children over six months old will be vaccinated first. The reason we even need to worry about this is that there will not be nearly enough flu vaccine to go around in the event of a real surge in the novel swine flu.
In the US, according to MSNBC,
The government estimates that about 120 million swine flu vaccine doses will be available to the public by late October. Nearly 160 million people are in the priority groups considered most vulnerable to infection or most at risk for severe disease, Schuchat said.
Since it is expected that two doses will be needed per person, it will be necessary to subdivide the target population and use a finer priority scale. Here is the order of priority:
- Pregnant women
- Household contacts of children younger than 6 months
- Subset of health workers who have direct contact with ill people
- Children 6 months through 4 years of age
- Children 5 to 18 who have greater risk factors for the flu
I’m a little uhappy that our health care system has not figured out how to produce sufficient supplies of effective vaccines against novel flus. It is almost like the whole medical, pharmaceutical, and scientific world has been hampered by eight years of … oh, never mind..