Monday, September 21, 2009

Young children need 2 doses of H1N1 vaccine: U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Younger children will need two doses of the vaccine against the new pandemic of H1N1 influenza, U.S. officials said on Monday.

They said tests of Sanofi-Pasteur's swine flu vaccine showed that children respond to it just as they do with seasonal flu vaccines, with children over 10 needing just a single dose.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said young children will likely need to have their doses 21 days apart, but he said they could receive seasonal flu shots and H1N1 shots on the same day -- something that could ease the logistics of vaccinating children multiple times.

"Immunologically this is acting like seasonal flu and we are very pleased with that," Fauci told reporters in a telephone briefing. "The response in younger children is less robust but that is not unexpected."

The children up to age 17 all mounted an immune response that should protect them from H1N1 within 8 to 10 days, Fauci said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 46 U.S. children have died from swine flu.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, Editing by Sandra Maler)