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Q: I thought flu was most dangerous to people 65 and older.
A: Regular winter flu is most dangerous to older adults, but the new H1N1 is predominantly striking the young.
Q: How many shots, or squirts, will I need?
A: Most people will need one dose each of the H1N1 vaccine and the regular winter flu vaccine. But health authorities believe children under 10 will need two doses of the H1N1 vaccine, about three weeks apart. And some very young children getting their first regular flu vaccination will need two doses of it, too, for a total a four inoculations.
Q: Can I get both types of vaccine at the same visit?
A: If you're lucky enough to find a provider who has both at the same time, a jab in each arm is OK, or a jab of one and a squirt of the other. If you opt for the FluMist version of each vaccine, however, you're supposed to wait three to four weeks between squirts.
Q: What if I'm not on the high-risk list and want H1N1 vaccine anyway?
A: Only some will be physically reserved, doses sent to schools or obstetricians, for example. But eventually enough is expected for everyone who wants it within just a few weeks. The government doesn't expect people to be turned away unless that day's supplies run out.
Q: What will it cost?
A: The H1N1 vaccine itself is free because the government bought it with your tax dollars. But providers can charge a small fee for administering it, usually about $20. Regular flu shots tend to cost up to $35.
Q: If H1N1 is the only kind of flu making people sick now, why do I need the regular shot?
A: Health authorities expect regular flu strains to start circulating, too, as it gets colder; seasonal flu typically peaks in January.
On the Net:
Flu information: http://www.flu.gov/
Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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