Race for H1N1 Vaccine

July 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The clock is ticking as researchers try to develop a vaccine for the H1N1 Swine Flu before the fall, flu season.The federal vaccine panel that meets Wednesday must begin to do to swine flu vaccine math, if there's not enough vaccine to go around, who should get what's available?

"So who would you want to start with? Who would you want to get protected first?" asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health.

Health care workers will almost certainly top the list, but pregnant women may be close behind.

The Centers for Disease Control looked at 266 U.S. Swine Flu deaths and found 15 of the deaths were pregnant women. That's six percent, though pregnant women make up just one-percent of the general population.

"They're not sure what the trigger is right now in pregnant women. But it reacts really, really fast. And she was perfectly healthy before this," said Bryan Opdyke.

Bryan Opdyke's 27-year-old wife Aubrey is hospitalized in critical condition with the H1N1 virus. Their baby girl did not survive when doctors were forced to deliver her prematurely. The family didn't realize what began as a sore throat would turn so tragic.

Dr. Jacques Moritz, Director of Gynecology, Roosevelt Hospital: "Your immune system is so weak and the flu affects you differently when you're pregnant. It really knocks you down."

Doctors already recommend that pregnant women get seasonal flu shots. But many women don't, so it's unclear how receptive they would be to trying a brand new swine flu vaccine.

"If it's going to help not to have the swine flu and keep my baby safe, I will take it," said Silvan Berman Marciano who is 8-months pregnant.

Swine Flu trials begin in August. The U.S. predicts 160-million doses may be ready by October.

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