University of Iowa researchers are looking for volunteers to help them study whether using lower doses of influenza vaccine can still protect people from getting the flu. Doctor Pat Winokur is a U-of-I internal medicine professor and is chief investigator on the study. Winokur says one of the preliminary findings is that using a lower dose but injecting the flu vaccine into the layers of the skin instead of deep into the muscle allows a lower dose to be used while providing the same protection. Given last year’s flu vaccine shortage, Winokur says this study on the potential of using lower doses takes on new importance. She says up to 250 volunteers are needed for the study and they will be compensated for taking part. Winokur says they’ll be using the 2004-05 vaccine for the study but participants will be offered the 2005-06 vaccine at the end of the study as a bonus to protect them from the coming year’s flu epidemic. She says they’re looking for volunteers between the ages of 18 and 64 who are in good health, with emphasis on people between 50 and 64. Participants must not have had a flu shot since February and can’t be taking steroids or have any diseases that would compromise their immune system. The study is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and will include nine other study sites. For more information about the study, call (319) 384-7245.
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