Half Dose of Flu Shot Appears to Provide Protection
Getting a half dose of the flu shot appears to be enough to protect healthy adults younger than 50 who have been previously vaccinated against the flu, suggests a study published in the December 8/22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. The study looked at healthy people ages 18 to 64 who had received flu vaccines in the previous one to three years. Researchers administered a full dose of the flu shot to a group of 554 study participants; they gave a half dose to a separate group of 556 participants, HealthDay reports. The antibody response in those who received a half dose of the flu vaccine was similar to that seen in those who got a full dose of the shot, especially in those ages 18 to 49, according to the study. Since a half dose of the vaccine appears to provide sufficient protection against the flu, perhaps cutting dosages could be a way to cope with future vaccine shortages, the researchers suggested.
Obama's Take on Reproductive Rights
Stephanie Cutter, chief spokesperson for President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, confirmed that our next president will, as promised on the campaign trail, support the controversial Freedom of Choice Act, Deborah Kotz reports. This legislation declares that a woman "has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman." It also says that federal and local governments can't "discriminate" against a woman's right to choose by, say, funding pregnancy or contraception coverage but not abortion. It was first introduced in Congress in 2007 but stands a much better chance of passing with a president who's willing to sign it into law.
Is Your Long-Term-Care Policy Safe?
Long-term-care insurance is a complex product that provides financial support for a range of assisted-living expenses for people who are unable to perform certain daily activities on their own, such as feeding or bathing themselves, Philip Moeller reports. Roughly 8 million LTC policies have been sold nationally. Most are purchased years in advance of any claims being made on the policies and are, in fact, marketed as a product that is more cost-effective if purchased early. Earlier this month, insurer Conseco shifted more than 140,000 long-term-care policies to Senior Health Insurance of Pennsylvania, a not-for-profit trust that is supervised by the state. The move means that the policies are now self-funding and can no longer look to Conseco to provide financial support.
—January W. Payne