Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flu Vaccine

Dr. Andrew Kroger from CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases gives the following guidelines for flu vaccination this year.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important that certain groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk of developing flu-related complications. They are:
  • Pregnant women;
  • Children younger than 5, and especially children younger than 2 years;
  • People 50 years of age and older;
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes;
  • People with immunosuppression, whether due to illness or medications;
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; and
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    1. Healthcare workers
    2. Household contacts of people at high risk for complications from the flu
    3. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (no vaccine is approved for children younger than 6 months, as these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Since the seasonal vaccine will protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus, 2 different flu vaccines will not be necessary this season.
On July 29, 2010, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued recommendations for everyone 6 months of age and older who do not have any contraindications to vaccination, to receive a flu vaccine each year, beginning this flu season. ACIP recommends that children 6 months through 8 years of age receive 2 doses of the 2010-2011 flu vaccine with a minimal interval of 4 weeks unless they have received:
  • At least 1 dose of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine last season; and
  • At least 1 dose of seasonal flu vaccine prior to the 2009-2010 flu season or 2 doses of 2009-2010 seasonal flu vaccine.
If a child has fulfilled both of these requirements, they only need 1 flu vaccine. The March of Dimes also advises for the flu shot.
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