Flu vaccine recommendations broader for adequate supplies

Reporting unused vaccine in some areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is letting up the reins and opening supplies to other risk groups. The priority groups remain the same, but others as described here can be immunized if supplies are adequate.1

Priority groups for inactivated influenza vaccination

Inactivated influenza vaccine is recommended for people in these priority groups:

all children 6-23 months old;
adults > 65 years old;
people 2-64 years old with underlying chronic medical conditions;
all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
children 2-18 years old on chronic aspirin therapy;
health care workers involved in direct patient care;
out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children < 6 months old.

Additional priority groups for vaccination in areas of sufficient supply

Where supply is sufficient, inactivated influenza vaccine also is recommended for people in these groups:

out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of people in high-risk groups (e.g., adults > 65 years old; people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, or weakened immune systems because of illness or medication; and children < 2 years old);
all adults 50-64 years old.

Use of live, attenuated influenza vaccination

Intranasally administered, live, attenuated influenza vaccine, if available, should be encouraged for all healthy people who are 5-49 years old and are not pregnant, especially health care workers and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of people in high-risk groups (e.g., adults > 65 years old; people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, or weakened immune systems because of illness or medication; and children < 2 years old).

However, health care workers who care for severely immunocompromised patients in special care units should receive the inactivated vaccine.

Reference

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated interim influenza vaccination recommendations — 2004-05 influenza season. MMWR 2004; 53:1,183-1,184.