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July 2009
Vol. 19 No. 7
Top Stories
ACIP Recommends Groups for H1N1 Vaccination

The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) made recommendations this month for the use of the novel influenza A:H1N1 vaccine. During a special meeting, ACIP recommended five target groups for vaccination:

  • pregnant women
  • people who live with or care for children under 6 months of age
  • health care workers and emergency services personnel
  • those between 6 months and 24 years of age
  • people between the ages of 25 and 64 who are at higher risk for H1N1 infection because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems

These groups represent about 159 million people in the United States. Although no shortage of the H1N1 vaccine is expected, ACIP also identified five groups that should receive the vaccine before others if supply is limited:

  • pregnant women
  • people who live with or care for children under 6 months of age
  • health care workers 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

Once demand for the vaccine among these priority groups has been met, providers and programs should begin vaccinating everyone between the ages of 25 and 64, ACIP recommended. As the vaccine demand among younger age groups is being met, H1N1 vaccination should be offered to people over the age of 65. ACIP also stressed that people in this age group receive the seasonal influenza vaccine as soon as it available. Current studies indicate the risk for H1N1 infection among those older than 65 is less than the risk for younger age groups.

The new H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal influenza vaccine but is intended to be used alongside the seasonal vaccine. Both vaccines may be administered on the same day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information, see CDC’s webpage and press release on the vaccination recommendations.
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