Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In the event of a pandemic, who will be first priority for a vaccine?

The International Herald Tribune posted this story on the US plan for vaccinations during a pandemic.

"Pregnant women, babies and toddlers would join doctors, emergency workers and soldiers at the head of the line for scarce vaccine if a super-strain of flu triggers the next pandemic, says a draft U.S. government plan to be released Tuesday.

Once more vaccine is brewed, older children along with workers who keep the electricity, water and phones running could be next to roll up their sleeves.At the end of the line: The elderly and healthy younger adults.

It is a priority list quite different from the usual winter pleas for older Americans to get vaccinated against regular flu. And it reflects growing agreement that curbing a super-flu would require protecting workers who care for the sick and maintain crucial services — plus targeting the people most likely to spread flu, not just die from it.

"Children are not only highly susceptible to influenza, children are also very good at spreading it," said William Raub, emergency planning chief at the Department of Health and Human Services. "Protecting them also protects those in the population."


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