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Friday, April 30, 2010

US : Swine flu fears push seasonal shots to record high

Via AP:

" Fears of swine flu helped boost vaccination for ordinary seasonal flu last year, with a record 40 percent of adults and children getting the vaccine, federal health officials said Thursday.

The jump was most dramatic in children, but vaccinations also increased in healthy adults under 50, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.

For all ages, the highest seasonal flu vaccination rate previously was about 33 percent, in the 2008-2009 season.

Flu shots have been around since the 1940s. But several things made last fall's campaign unusual:

- Swine flu appeared last spring and was unusually dangerous to children and young adults, prompting more interest in regular flu shots. "We do have the pandemic driving that," said Gary Euler, one of the study's authors.

- Government recommendations kicked in calling for seasonal flu vaccinations for all children.

- Seasonal vaccine was out earlier than usual so manufacturers could focus on the separate swine flu vaccine."

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