Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kids Under 5 Not at High Risk

Children under 5 years of age are at relatively low risk from Swine Flu, while teens are at relatively greater risk.  CDC finally acknowledged this on October 17, although CDC's data, published August 21, showed it then.
What's also surprising, Schuchat said, is that about half of the children who have died since the end of August were teenagers. Health officials thought younger children were more vulnerable.
I pointed this out (low risk in young children) on September 8 and September 11, based on CDC data from the MMWR publication, and noted then that the other G8 countries plus Mexico that met to discuss Swine Flu would not be recommending young children for vaccinations.

Adding to the seriousness of the situation, manufacturing problems have delayed production of the H1N1 vaccine. Instead of reaching a goal of 40 million doses by the end of October, fewer than 30 million doses will be available, Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said.
But Schuchat is altering history here.  The September 15 NY Times reported that,
officials expect about 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine to reach government warehouses by Oct. 15, and another 20 million doses to be ready each week after that until 195 million is reached.
So by the end of October the US government will have only 30 million of a previously expected 90 million doses of swine flu vaccines, not 40 million as claimed by Schuchat.  Vaccine delays often reflect unforeseen issues with either safety or manufacturing standards.  It is unlikely the public will be informed of the specific reason(s) for the delay.

According to the Wall Street Journal, some people who hesitate getting vaccinated,
are concerned that flu shots can expose infants and toddlers to mercury, alleging a link between vaccines that contain thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, and autism.
Dr. Schuchat said Friday that while there is "no scientific basis" for those concerns, the CDC has "put in orders for quite a bit of thimerosal-free vaccine," so a choice can be available for pregnant women and young children. All H1N1 nasal spray vaccines are free of thimerosal, as well as some shots in single-dose syringes, she said. She said she couldn't specify how many of the 251 million doses the government has ordered will be free of the preservative, however.
Since Dr. Schuchat's group decided how many doses of the different Swine Flu vaccines to order, her ignorance on the number of doses expected to be available without mercury may be a clue that approval of these doses has been delayed due to manufacturing or safety problems.

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