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FDA Approves Seasonal Flu Vaccine for 2009-2010
Date:7/20/2009

Health experts still working on H1N1 swine flu vaccine, which should be ready by fall

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccine to protect against the 2009-2010 seasonal flu, health officials announced Monday.

The agency noted that this vaccine will not protect people from the new H1N1 swine flu that has reached pandemic proportions around the world and is expected to return to the United States in the fall. A separate vaccine to protect against that flu strain is now under development and about to undergo testing. The swine flu vaccine is expected to be available sometime in the fall, according to the FDA.

"The approval of this year's seasonal influenza vaccine is an example of the FDA's important responsibility to assure timely availability of vaccine to help protect the health of the American public," Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the FDA's commissioner of food and drugs, said in a prepared statement. "A new seasonal influenza vaccine each year is a critical tool in protecting public health."

This year's vaccine contains:

  • an A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1)-like virus.
  • an A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like virus.
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

These are the seasonal flu strains most likely to be circulating this year. Anyone who wants to get a vaccination can, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the shot is particularly recommended for children 6 months up to 19 years old; pregnant women; anyone 50 and older; people with certain chronic medical conditions; people living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; and people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu.

"It's important to have a yearly flu shot," said Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York C
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