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One flu jab enough for children?

Tuesday December 22nd, 2009

Children may need just one dose of swine flu vaccine - rather than the two which are currently recommended, researchers reported last night.

A new analysis says a single dose may be "effective" to protect infants and children and prevent the H1N1 virus being passed on.

The British government has just announced plans for a national programme of vaccinating young children and infants against the virus.

The Australian researchers studied the effect of two levels of dose of vaccine in some 370 children under the age of nine.

They found that well over 90 per cent showed an adequate level of immune system protection following a single dose.

A second dose ensured full protection for all the children, the researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researcher Dr Terry Nolan said: "Our findings suggest that a single dose 15-microgram dose vaccine regimen may be effective and well tolerated in children, and may have positive implications for disease protection and reduced transmission of pandemic H1N1 in the wider population."

However US experts said the 15-microgram dose was already twice the level of dose used in the USA.

Dr Anthony Fiore, of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, Georgia, warns in the journal: "The findings cannot be generalized with confidence to all children, epidemiological circumstances in every country, or different vaccine formulations.

"It remains prudent to continue to follow current recommendations for administering two doses to infants and young children while awaiting definitive vaccine effectiveness data."

JAMA. 2010; 303[1]:[doi:10.1001/JAMA.2009/1911

Tags: Australia | Child Health | Flu & Viruses | North America

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