CDC: Unsure if third surge of H1N1 to come

Dec. 1, 2009 at 8:33 PM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- H1N1 flu is going down, but it's far from gone and only time will tell what the rest of the flu season will bring, a U.S. health official said Tuesday.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters in a briefing in Atlanta that the CDC took an informal poll of about a dozen of some of the world's leading experts in influenza.

"About half of them said, 'Yes, we think it's likely that we'll have another surge in cases' (in the winter). About half said, 'No, we think it's not likely.' And one said, 'Flip a coin,'" Frieden said. "We don't know what the future will hold. Now is the time for increasing vaccine supply and increasing availability."

Frieden acknowledged that many want to get the H1N1 vaccine and cannot. So far there have been nearly 70 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine available nationwide and more is coming. The anticipation was that the H1N1 vaccine would take six to nine months and that's pretty much what it's taking, Frieden said.

"We had a bad break with the vaccine because this strain took longer to grow," Frieden said. "We had a good break with it requiring only a single dose, rather than two doses for everyone age 10 and up."

We have a window of opportunity to get more people protected in case there's another surge or wave in the future months, Frieden added.

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