Texas Kids Need 2nd Swine Flu Shot

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Kids who have had only one swine flu shot may not be fully protected.

    Thousands of kids in Texas may not be fully protected against the H1N1 flu virus, even though they've already had one swine flu shot.

    Children younger than 10 years old need a second dose of vaccine to reach a higher level of protection. But most Texas children younger than 10 who received the first shot have not come back for the second, according to numbers from a state system that tracks childhood immunizations.

    Thousands Missing Second Dose of Swine Flu Vaccine

    [DFW] Thousands Missing Second Dose of Swine Flu Vaccine
    Kids who have had only one swine flu shot may not be fully protected. (Published Saturday, Apr 3, 2010)

    "It's really a good idea to get that second dose to make sure that your child has that adequate level of protection," said Dr. John Carlo, medical director for the Dallas County Health Department.

    According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 77 percent of children younger than 10 who received the first dose of vaccine have not received the second.

    Doctors caution that number may not be entirely accurate because reporting to the state's ImmTrac system is not always complete.  But health officials say the numbers at least show there are more parents who need a reminder to get a double dose of protection for their kids.

    Stacia Miller of Mansfield recently got a reminder to bring her daughter, Trinity, in to her pediatrician's office for a second dose.

    "I want her body to be fully protected as it can be," Miller said.

    But getting that second shot has not always been easy. Some clinics reported shortages around the time many kids were due for their second vaccine last fall.

    And then the flu largely faded from media coverage as cases died down.

    "The fact that it hit so early in September and was really bad for three weeks -- that got a lot of people in here, and then afterward, everyone was like, 'What's the big deal now?'" said Dr. Laurie Gray, a pediatrician with Cook Children's. 

    Millions of doses of vaccine are set to expire in June. By mid-summer, Texas will have less than 4.3 million doses left of the more than 11 million doses shipped to the state. Still, it is widely available at the moment at health departments and pharmacies.

    Doctors expect H1N1 could make a comeback this summer as kids congregate at summer camps, playgrounds and swimming pools. And the CDC has already reported small spikes in cases in Georgia, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates. 

    "We can't say that the season's over or that we're out of the woods yet," Carlo said.