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Half-Dose Flu Shot Works Well in Young Adults
Date:12/8/2008

The finding could greatly expand the supply of the seasonal vaccine, experts say

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A half-dose flu shot is sufficient to trigger an immune response in healthy adults younger than age 50 who've had prior flu vaccinations, U.S. researchers report.

The finding suggests that using half-doses in healthy young people may be a way of coping with vaccine shortages.

"Since 2002, optimum influenza vaccine delivery has been impaired as a result of supply shortages. With the abrupt loss of half the anticipated national influenza vaccine supply in October 2004, the option of using a reduced dose for immunization of healthy, high-priority groups became a critical consideration," Dr. Renata J.M. Engler, of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and colleagues wrote as background information in their study.

In a study involving healthy adults, aged 18 to 64, who'd been vaccinated within the past one to three years, Engler and colleagues gave a full-dose flu shot to 554 participants and a half-dose shot to 556 participants. Blood samples taken before and 21 days after vaccination were tested for antibodies against influenza and the volunteers reported any flu-like symptoms they experienced during this time period.

"Antibody responses to intramuscular half-dose trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine in healthy, previously immunized adults were not substantially inferior to the full-dose vaccine, particularly for ages 18 to 49 years," the researchers wrote.

The participants were given their flu shots between November and December 2004. Those who received the half-dose shot had no more medical visits for respiratory or cardiovascular reasons than those who received the full-dose flu shot.

The study is published in the Dec. 8/22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Given the benefits of immunizing healthy working adults and caregivers, these data support
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