By Tom Randall
June 26 (Bloomberg) — The vaccine being developed to combat a pandemic of swine flu will require multiple shots to provide immunity from the new virus and the added immunizations may overwhelm U.S. state agencies, health officials said.
Two injections will be required three weeks apart for swine flu, also known as H1N1, and a third will be needed for seasonal flu, health officials said at a meeting today at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta. Children younger than 9 years will need four shots, the CDC said.
The U.S. government has taken the unusual step of purchasing all of the swine flu vaccine, and the shots will probably be administered through vaccine clinics set up by state health organizations, the CDC said. The agency estimates that at least 50 million vaccine doses will be available in the U.S. by October 15, and enough vaccine to immunize everyone in the country will be available later in the season.
“Public health departments are under-funded and will get fatigued,” said William Schaffner, an influenza expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, in an interview at the flu conference. “One shot probably gives you very little immunity, 10 to 20 percent at most.”
Last Updated: June 26, 2009 09:23 EDT