Study: Early vaccinations could cut H1N1-related deaths

To blunt the impact of the H1N1 pandemic, which should be beginning to spike as you read this, vaccinations should start as quickly as possible, according to new research. Researchers with Stanford University Medical Center have concluded that vaccinating 40 percent of the population this month, as opposed to next month when things get worse, could save lives and lower treatment costs.

To conduct the study, which appears in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine, a team led by Stanford's Dr. Nayer Khazeni built a computer model of a city about the size of New York, which has 8.3 million residents. At least in this model, vaccinating 40 percent of people in October, or 35 percent November, can save lives, cut care costs and shorten the pandemic's lifespan, the team found.

However, sooner is better than later. While vaccinating 40 percent of the U.S. population in October would save 2,051 lives and $469 million, vaccinating that number in November would hold off 1,468 deaths and save $302 million.

That being said, however, it doesn't seem likely that the vaccine supply will be adequate to meet the study's October goal.

To learn more about the study:
- read this HealthDay News piece

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