H1N1 Being Called a "Young Persons" Virus

October 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) said it should be widely available by mid November but production is behind schedule. The centers for disease control is now calling the swine flu a "young person's" virus since more than half of all hospitalizations were people 24 and younger and more than a quarter were ages 5 to 18 years.The Rivera family knows firsthand that the H1N1 swine flu virus is targeting young people. Their 8-year old has been fighting for her life.

"It's the worst feeling. I've never felt so scared about anything."

Wednesday on Capitol Hill, swine flu and its impact on the young will be at the top of the agenda. New data released by the C.D.C. show that of those hospitalized with this virus:

- 7 percent are people 65 and older
- 39 percent are between 25 and 64
- 53% are people under 25.

The young don't seem to have immunity to this disease. "Much younger people are being affected at much higher rates. Our senior citizens have seen a strain like this sometime in the past, so and that leaves the younger population much more vulnerable," said Dr. Paul Hain with the Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Just twelve-million doses have been made available so far, out of the 250- million the government ordered. And in some regions, including Fairfax, Virginia, there's a shortage. New York State is expected to receive the vaccine next week.

New York Department of Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said, "We want to make sure that every child has the opportunity to be vaccinated and protected against H1N1 influenza."

In New York City, permission slips have been sent home for parents to sign, so students can be inoculated for free. Those who were once hesitant about the vaccine are signing up.

"Everybody's supposed to get the vaccine flu, for swine flu, which is good for everyone," said one parent.

President Obama received his regular flu shot. He will have to wait, behind the most vulnerable, for his H1N1 vaccination.

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