With the seasonal flu season coming up and improbability over whether swine flu will become more severe, many researches are believed to have been carried out.
However, a novel research has discovered that more people seem to have the possibility to avoid the illness if vaccines are provided first to those most likely to transmit viruses, instead to those at highest risk for complications. This research was performed by Yale School of Public Health.
Apparently, this research differs from existing vaccination recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). At present, the ACIP recommends that groups at high risk for complications of swine flu should perhaps be given utmost priority for vaccination. Swine flu is more commonly known as novel influenza A or H1N1.
Also, the CDC recommends similar examples for seasonal flu vaccination. Supposedly, high-risk groups include children younger than 5 years old, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and those experiencing from pulmonary, cardiovascular and other disorders.
However, Alison P. Galvani, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale was of the opinion that vaccines which were targeted at groups who were more likely to spread flu viruses, instead of those at highest risk of complications, would probably lead to lesser infections and improved survival rates.
For the purpose of the analysis, Galvani used mathematical models in order to measure outcomes based on deaths, years of life lost and economic costs. Remarkably, these models found that school children and their parents, normally in their 30s, seem to be the best groups to vaccinate even when a modest amount of an effective vaccine is available.
This is due to the school children could perhaps be mainly responsible for transmission and their parents seem to provide as bridges to the rest of the population. Later, the analysis targeted these two age groups and discovered that the remainder of the population might be better protected.
“Our results illustrate the importance of considering transmission when allocating vaccines” says Galvani.
The CDC was believed to have expanded its seasonal flu vaccination recommendations in the year 2008 so that children up to 18 years old could also be included too. Still, Galvani’s research determined that previous and novel guidelines for both swine and seasonal flu appear to have performed considerably worse in contrast to the optimal strategies which she and her group identified.
She further stated that, “The optimal allocation of vaccines is paramount to minimizing mortality and morbidity in the population, particularly when there is a supply shortage.”
For instance, with the help of the ACIP’s latest vaccination policies for the swine flu, the research established that ACIP recommendations could possibly result in approximately 1.3 million infections, about 2,600 deaths, and $2.8 billion in economic impact. In contrast, Galvani’s model resulted in nearly 113,000 infections, about 242 deaths, and $1.6 billion in cost.
The findings have been published in the online journal of Science.