H1N1 Flu Update
Vaccine on the Way
In the September 7, 2009, issue of Science World, you read about the H1N1 flu. Read on to get an update on what scientists have learned since that article went to press. Also, be sure to check out the October 5 issue, in which Science World talks with researchers who are on the front lines of studying this novel flu.
Scientists say that an H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available to the public in October. A committee of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) met on July 29, 2009, to decide which groups would be at the highest risk for contracting the virus. At the top of the list to receive the new shot are children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years, pregnant women, caregivers to children, and healthcare professionals.
The CDC predicts that without a successful vaccine campaign, up to 40 percent of Americans could come down with H1N1 flu over the next two years. Will the vaccine arrive too late? “No, October definitely isn’t too late. But I’d recommend getting the vaccine as soon as one can,” says Tara Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa who studies the spread of diseases. She and other researchers also are advising everyone to get their regular flu shot to protect themselves from annual flu viruses.