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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

H5N1 bird flu Shots

Deployed military troops, emergency workers, pregnant women and children will be among the first to get scarce vaccinations if a pandemic strain of flu breaks out, U.S. officials said.

A long-awaited report to be issued on Tuesday lays out who would be first in line to get vaccinated against H5N1 bird flu or any other strain of pandemic influenza.

The Health and Human Services report proposes creating four categories of people, and vaccinating the top tier of each category first. The categories are homeland and national security, critical infrastructure, health and community support services and the general population.

"Certain military personnel like deployed forces would get vaccinated before certain other military personnel," HHS science adviser William Raub said in a telephone interview.

Virtually all health experts agree that the world is overdue for a pandemic of some sort of influenza.

No one can predict when one might come, how bad it would be or which strain of influenza virus may be responsible. But the H5N1 bird flu virus that has infected 331 people since 2003, killing 203 of them, is the current chief candidate.

Companies are working to make a vaccine against H5N1 but the process takes months and it is not clear if vaccines formulated to match the current strain would protect well against whatever mutated version emerges to cause a pandemic.
Reuters Article
US Government Pandemic Flu site

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