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Daily Dose

More Updates on the Swine Flu Vaccine

This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the first doses of H1N1 vaccine will not be available until mid-October and there will be far fewer doses initially than expected.I know everyone is still concerned about H1N1 (swine flu) and I want to keep updating the information as it is available. This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the first doses of H1N1 vaccine will not be available until mid-October and there will be far fewer doses initially than expected. Only about 45 million doses will be available at that time, with another 20 million doses produced weekly, until the 195 million doses that were ordered are completed.

As discussed previously, making a new vaccine is a difficult process, and despite the fact that “swine flu” is easily spreading within communities, it has been more difficult to grow enough “lab virus” for vaccine production. It is due to this that vaccine production is about 50 percent of what was initially expected. I continue to get questions as to how the vaccine will be distributed, how many doses will be needed etc. Most of this information is not yet available and should be forthcoming in the next several weeks as the preliminary trials on vaccine efficacy are completed. It does appear that the “swine flu” vaccine will probably require two shots that are separated by at least three weeks. It also takes several weeks post vaccination to produce antibodies to prevent infection. Unfortunately, you are not immune the minute the needle is inserted! The logistics of providing the immunizations have not been worked out, and different communities may provide vaccine in different ways. Some state and local health departments may provide school based vaccine clinics, but again that decision may vary. With school just around the corner the concern is that the vaccine may be too late to halt outbreaks as “swine flu” has continued to be diagnosed throughout the summer months and will probably become more prevalent within weeks of school resuming. The concern is that school aged children seem to be the most vulnerable, with the median age for infection being 12 – 17 years. The symptoms of “swine flu” resemble those of seasonal influenza and one type of flu does not prevent the other. In other words, this could be a very long flu season with successive illnesses with different influenza viruses. For now the best advice is to get your seasonal (regular) influenza vaccine, which is already available in both injectable and intranasal formulations. This is not a good year to “miss” your seasonal flu vaccine as it is still the best protection there is for “regular flu”. This vaccine is recommended for ALL children between the ages of six months and 18 years. (See previous links for more details about recommendations for others). Remember the seasonal flu vaccine does not prevent H1N1 (swine flu) and vice a versa. This is going to be a long and complicated flu season, so stay tuned for more information. That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon!

Daily Dose

Recommendations On Who Should Get a Swine Flu Vaccine

I thought it was a good time to re-iterate the recommendations as to who will be prioritized to receive the novel H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine this fall.With more swine flu in the news and the story continuing to evolve I thought it was a good time to re-iterate the ACIP recommendations as to who will be prioritized to receive the novel H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine this fall. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) are hopeful that a novel H1N1 vaccine will be available by early this fall. They are expecting that when the vaccine becomes initially available (it is currently in clinical trials) there may be a limited supply. The CDC does not expect there to be a shortage of vaccine over the course of the winter but supplies may be limited as production first begins.

There are five key populations that are recommended to receive vaccine when first available:

  • Pregnant women
  • People who live with or care for children younger than six months of age
  • Health care and emergency services personnel
  • Persons between the ages of six months through 24 years of age
  • People from ages 25
Daily Dose

Top Health Risks for Young Adults

When I think of the youth of today, we tend to think they are pretty healthy, but the reality is that our youth are facing numerous health issues now that will have long term consequences as they grow older.The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently issued a health report entitled "Top Health Risks for Young Adults". When I think of the youth of today, we tend to think they are pretty healthy, but the reality is that our youth are facing numerous health issues now that will have long term consequences as they grow older.

This report was geared at the young adult ages 18 - 29, but many of the same issues are facing even younger children. The leading cause of death for young adults is unintentional injuries, which killed 40/100,000 young adults in 2005. These injuries are often traffic fatalities, many associated with drinking and driving and even under age drinking and driving. There are over 1,700 deaths per year due to binge drinking. The list of injuries is extensive as these are years for risk taking behaviors. Teens and young adults feel invincible, and the party line is usually, "this won't happen to me!" These topics should be discussed over and over again with our children beginning at young ages. The more they hear the better. Obesity was also on the list. As we all know obesity is skyrocketing in this country. The statistics are daunting and the obesity rates for young adults tripled between the 1970's and 2005-2006. With the economic problems we are all facing, more families may be making less healthy choices due to the cost of food. A box of macaroni and cheese is far less expensive than grilled chicken breasts, but the long-term consequences may be far more lasting. The statistics for younger children are not encouraging either. We the parents must make better food choices for ourselves and our children in order to combat an epidemic of obesity and health related issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Exercise is also necessary for overall good health and only 36% of young adults get regular exercise, and only 26% report strength training at least twice/week. Our older school age children are also not meeting goals for exercise, as many schools no longer require P.E. credits or daily gym class. How many kids "pick" gym class if it is not required, especially if they are already having weight problems and therefore may be embarrassed to exercise while at school? Lastly, smoking!! In 2006, 29% of men and 21% of women ages 18 - 29 were smokers. Most of them report that they began smoking at a much younger age. The conversation about smoking in adolescence needs to be reinforced with our children. Nicotine is addictive and the media continues to show smoking without showing any of the horrible consequences of smoking: cancer, emphysema and death. So, happy spring, we can all get out and exercise and enjoy cookouts during the nice spring weather. The family as a whole will benefit. That's your daily dose, we'll chat again soon. More Information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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