MMS Flu Advisory: ACIP Recommends Target Groups for novel H1N1 Vaccination

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The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) announced its recommendations for novel H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine when it becomes available.

ACIP recommends that vaccination efforts focus on five key populations.  When vaccine is first available, the committee recommended that programs and providers try to vaccinate:

  • pregnant women
  • people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age

  • health care and emergency services personnel

  • persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age

  • people from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

These key populations include those who are at higher risk of disease or complications, those who are likely to come in contact with novel H1N1, and those who could infect young infants.

The committee said it does not expect that there will be a shortage of novel H1N1 vaccine, but availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others:

  • pregnant women

  • people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age

  • health care and emergency services personnel with direct patient contact

  • children 6 months through 4 years of age

  • children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

The federal government is working to have a safe and effective H1N1 vaccine available for distribution as early as mid-October. However, because it is possible, even probable, that epidemics may begin in different parts of the country before then, the CDC is urging Americans to plan and prepare. Planning and preparation checklists for individuals, workplaces and health care providers can be found on the federal flu website, www.flu.gov.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is developing a vaccine delivery plan for allocation of H1N1 vaccine.

Read the full ACIP news release.

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Source: www.flu.gov (July 30, 2009)

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