New U.S. outbreak likely in coming months; children and young adults still primary targets,,
FRIDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials said Friday that development of a vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu is on track, with the first doses possibly ready by the fall.
Initial tests of a vaccine are expected to start soon, possibly within weeks, although results about its safety and effectiveness won't be known for about month after that, officials said.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has announced plans for a voluntary vaccination program in the fall, "assuming availability of a safe and effective vaccine," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a midday press conference.
Schuchat said the CDC is working with states and local governments to develop vaccination programs. On July 29, the CDC's advisory committee for immunization practices will meet to discuss who should receive the H1N1 vaccine. The committee also will look at who should be vaccinated first -- for example, health-care workers -- if the vaccine is in short supply.
"We think things are proceeding well," Dr. Jesse Goodman, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's acting chief scientist and deputy commissioner, said during the press conference. "We expect initial trials to be starting very shortly."
As vaccine development continues, the H1N1 swine flu virus continues to sweep around the world.
"This virus is not going away," Schuchat said, adding that it's still causing infections in the United States in the summer, "in temperature and humidity conditions that are not very favorable to seasonal influenza virus transmission."
On Friday, the CDC was reporting 40,617 confirmed cases of H1N1 infection and 263 deaths, although officials believe more than 1 million A
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