CDC H1N1 vaccine priorities challenged

Aug. 21, 2009 at 3:12 PM
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CLEMSON, S.C., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Researchers developed models challenging the recommendations of U.S. health officials on which age groups should be vaccinated first for influenza.

Clemson University mathematician Jan Medlock and colleague Alison Galvani of the Yale University School of Medicine said the U.S. population can be best protected from the spread of the seasonal flu and H1N1by stopping the high levels of transmission among schoolchildren to their parents, despite the fact that other age groups may suffer more severe symptoms if they catch the flu.

"Current flu vaccination recommendations include children under age 5 and for seasonal flu, people over age 50," Medlock said in a statement.

"The vaccines would be better used to prevent transmission within schools and out to parents, who then spread the flu to the rest of the population."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations have been changing and moving in the right direction, particularly due to the new H1N1 strain, Medlock said.

The study, published in Science Express, concluded that schoolchildren and their parents are the best groups to vaccinate when even a modest amount of an effective vaccine is available.

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