Sunday, September 27, 2009

Swine Flu Epidemic Update 32

I'd like to highlight an important article just published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Monto and colleagues published their data on the comparative efficacy of inactivated and live attenuated (weakened) vaccines. Standard shots of the inactivated vaccine produced an prevention rate of 68%, whereas intranasal, live vaccine (FluMist) produced a prevention rate of only 36%. The protection factor was about 2x greater. The subjects were adults, not children. This has still moved my recommendations towards the standard vaccine, even though it is an injection, versus the intranasal vaccine. There is no reason for me to think that a child's immune system is more likely to respond the intranasal vaccine. The authors also point out that you should not extrapolate and think in the same way for the swine flu.

With annual vaccination rates for the U.S. hovering in the 40% range and more and more cases being cited in the media, I'd be happy if the vaccine gets here ASAP and people get it. Remember - two shots for the swine flu.

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