Officials hope vaccine will be available by fall or early winter
TUESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- With the first trials of a vaccine against the new H1N1 swine flu set to begin shortly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will convene a panel of experts Wednesday to recommend a priority list of candidates for the vaccine.
Those recommendations will assume that a safe and effective vaccine will be available by October in sufficient quantity to start a mass vaccination program in the United States. If all goes well, the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine should be known by late August or September, federal officials said.
"The panel will get an update on the H1N1 in the United States," said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner. "They will get an update on where things stand with the development of a vaccine against novel H1N1 and an update on the steps being taken to plan for a potential vaccination campaign in the fall."
By meeting's end, the CDC expects to have a good idea of who should be given priority for the vaccine, Skinner said.
"We won't have final guidelines for use of the vaccine, [but] we will have a pretty good idea of who is going to be first in line to get a vaccine if we get to the point of having a vaccine that is safe and effective by late fall or early winter," he said.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will consider various scenarios, including a vaccine shortage, Skinner said. And once a vaccine has been approved, the panel will vote on final recommendations for its use, he said.
Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, thinks he has a pretty good idea of what the recommendation for the H1N1 vaccine will be.
"We should target health-care workers, those under 2 [years of age], pregnant women, those chronically ill, those with asthma." Siegel said.
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