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Keep Your Flu Shots Straight This Fall
Date:9/2/2009

at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "It has no benefit that we can tell against what's going to probably be the real villain this year, H1N1."

For protection against swine flu, you'll need the swine flu vaccine, which is expected to be ready by mid-October and can be administered at the same time as the seasonal flu. But the two doses of swine flu vaccine will be given three to four weeks apart, according to the CDC.

Meanwhile, the priority groups are slightly different for each vaccine.

For the seasonal flu vaccine, target groups include children aged 6 months to 19 years, pregnant women, adults 50 and over, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, anyone with a chronic medical condition, health-care workers and people in close proximity to high-risk individuals.

For the swine flu vaccine, federal officials have added young adults aged 19 to 24, who have been disproportionately affected by the swine flu, and have lowered older adults down the list (unless they have an underlying medical condition) because they've shown more resistance to the infection. In all, swine flu vaccine priority groups comprise about 160 million people.

"In the seasonal flu, the priority is the elderly but they're at the bottom of the ladder for H1N1, so that's a change the public will have a problem with," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "People seem to have some partial immunity to the swine flu if they are born before 1957."

This doesn't mean that older people shouldn't get the swine flu shot, just that they won't be first in line, Hay said.

Hopefully, 45 million doses of the swine flu vaccine will be available by mid- to late October, enough to vaccinate about 22 million people if they each get two doses.

Thereafter, federal officials are estimating another 20 million doses will be shipped each week after that.


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