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Flu shot

Jennifer AbramsohnOctober 30, 2009

After a 3-day meeting in Geneva, leading World Health Organization vaccine experts have altered their previous recommendation that children should receive two doses of swine flu vaccine. Now, they say, one is enough.

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A woman receiving a shot
The WHO says pandemic shots are safe for kids aged to and upImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

After three days of talks in Geneva, vaccine experts decided that a single dose of swine flu vaccination is enough to immunize adults and children under 10 years of age against the pandemic strain.

Health experts have been debating whether one or two shots are necessary to protect against H1N1. Europe's drug regulator recommends that the swine flu vaccines be adminstered in two doses, at least three weeks apart. U.S. regulators recommend two doses for children under 10.

Immunization experts say one dose needed

While clinical data was limited on the effects of vaccination on children under the age of 10, the WHO said that countries should give a single dose to as many children as possible rather than vaccinating only half of the young population with two shots each.

WHO official Marie-Paule Kieny said in a press conference call that the priority should be "to give all of them or as many of them one dose, rather than to vaccinate only half of the same number of children with two doses."

The WHO experts say more data on children aged between 6 months and 10 years are needed to determine whether one or two doses are enough.

ap/afp/reuters/cn

Editor: Jennifer Abramsohn