Half-dose flu shots work in adults

CHICAGO (AP) -- A new government study finds that half-dose flu shots are effective in adults, especially in women and those younger than 50.

The findings might offer a viable way to stretch supplies during vaccine shortages or during hard economic times. Lower doses likely would mean cheaper shots and vaccine experts say the lower dosage also could allow poor countries to begin vaccination programs.

Flu rates are often underestimated. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the disease is responsible for about 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations nationwide each year.

One doctor who wasn't involved in the study cautions that the half-dose shots are still experimental and haven't been approved by federal authorities.

The government-funded study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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