November 3, 2009
U.S. government data released on Monday confirmed that a single dose of the vaccine protects pregnant women from the virus, while children under the age of 10 years need two doses of the vaccine, the Washington Post reports. The findings came the same day that a team of experts tasked with monitoring the national H1N1 vaccine campaign for any adverse side effects met for the first time.
"In the new results, an analysis of blood samples from 50 pregnant women in their second or third trimesters taken 21 days after they received a 15-microgram dose of vaccine found that 92 percent experienced a sufficient response to assume they would be protected," the newspaper writes. "Additional data from blood tests on 583 children, however, found that only 25 percent of those ages 6 months to 35 months and only 55 percent of those ages 3 to 9 years had a strong enough immune response to protect them 21 days after getting only one shot. But 100 percent of the young children and 94 percent of those ages 3 to 9 experienced a strong enough response eight to 10 days after a booster" (Stein, 11/3). NPR's Morning Edition also reports on the most recent H1N1 vaccine data (Silberner, 11/3).
"The World Health Organization last week recommended one dose of vaccine for all children, but the United States is ignoring that advice," the New York Times writes. "The [WHO's] primary goal is to make sure that the world's vaccine supplies stretch as far as possible among the world's children. It endorses vaccine-stretching adjuvants and favors one dose per child so more children can get one" (McNeil, 11/2).
U.S. health officials on Monday said 30 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine were available for states to order -- up from 26.6 million doses on Friday, Reuters reports. "Original predictions suggested that at least 80 million doses should have been delivered to state health departments, clinics and retailers by now and a few politicians have complained," the news service writes. "Over time, we expect that supply will start to increase and eventually catch up with the tremendous demand that we are seeing now," Anne Schuchat, of the CDC, said (Fox, 11/2).
WHO Team Travels to Ukraine to Assess H1N1 Outbreak
Also on Monday, a team of health experts from the WHO traveled to the Ukraine at the government's request, after countrywide fears over H1N1 led the government to temporary shutdown of schools and limit public events, the Associated Press reports. However, the WHO group "said Monday there is no evidence that Ukraine's outbreak is particularly severe ..." (Sedova/Shuster, 11/2).
According to WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl, "a lot of unknowns" about the situation in the Ukraine remain, Bloomberg reports. "Ukraine faces an outbreak of flu-like illness that's killed at least 67 people and infected 255,000, according to the country's first deputy health minister Vasyl Lazoryshynets. About 22 patients tested positive for swine flu, Lazoryshynets said. ...The crew of experts will collect samples from patients and send them to the WHO's influenza collaborating center in London for diagnosis" with results on the outbreak anticipated as early as Nov. 4, according to Hartl.
The article also details the public's scramble for face masks, antivirals and folk remedies in the hopes of protecting themselves from the virus (Choursina/Pavliva, 11/2).