The researchers conducted a study, where injections, one-fifth of the normal dose, were given under the skin instead of the muscle. This helped in expanding the supply of the vaccine, a boon during any shortage in availability of vaccine. Dr. Kathryn Kirkland of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, said," Although these results are preliminary, we found that the reduced dose administered intradermally -- under the skin -- was at least as effective in preventing flu-like illness as the standard, intramuscular dose of the vaccine."
This finding could help circumvent any dearth of seasonal vaccine, Kirkland said. According to her, preliminary research has shown that a more potent dose would be required for bird-flu than the dose used for the seasonal flu experiment.
The paucity of flu vaccine in 2004 inspired Kirkland's study. Nearly 1602 people who were healthy were injected with the reduced dose that produced parallel results with the standard doses.
The findings were presented at a meeting of the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America.