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There were few reports of flu-like illnesses among the study volunteers, but the number of people of all ages with those symptoms was similar in both the full-dose and half-dose groups.
Engler noted that because adults in their 60s and older are more vulnerable to flu complications, more research is needed to be sure that half-doses are adequate for them.
The study was done during the vaccine shortage in the winter of 2004-05 when contamination was found at a major vaccine supplier's plant in Britain.
Now, there are five licensed flu vaccine manufacturers, making shortages in the near future unlikely. Still, Dr. Joseph Bresee, the CDC's flu chief, said the study provides useful information just in case.
Flu season starts in the fall and this year is off to a pretty typical start, with low levels of disease nationwide, Bresee said.
"It's still a good time to get a vaccine," Bresee said,
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