Best use of flu shots? Kids and young adults
To prepare for outbreaks of influenza, both seasonal flu and the H1N1 (“swine flu”) strain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have compiled mass vaccination guidelines.
But in the August 20 issue of Sciencexpress, Alison P. Galvani, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology, and Clemson University’s Jan Medlock, Ph.D., published mathematical models predicting that current CDC/ACIP recommendations would produce far from optimal results in a pandemic.
The team found that prioritizing vaccination for the 5 to 19 age group—which is responsible for most flu transmissions—and the 30 to 39 age group would be more effective than CDC/ACIP guidelines.
For example, the model showed that if 40 million doses of H1N1 vaccine were distributed by ACIP guidelines in an outbreak following the pattern seen in the 1918 flu epidemic, there would be 59 million infections, 853,000 deaths, and a total cost of $939 billion. Under Medlock and Galvani’s proposal, those numbers were cut to 44 million, 645,000, and $703 billion, respectively.