CDC Suggests Flu Shots Beyond High-Risk Groups

Based on ample vaccine supply, CDC advises vaccinating healthy 50- to 64-year-olds and others

TUESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised health care providers this week to broaden flu vaccinations beyond high-risk groups to include other patients, particularly healthy 50- to 64-year-olds.

Until Oct. 24, the CDC had recommended vaccinating only those at highest risk, including patients 65 and over, health care workers, pregnant women, children from 6 to 23 months and people with chronic ailments such as asthma and heart conditions.

While there are some health care providers who have not yet received vaccines, these "localized shortages are the result of distribution anomalies that are expected to be resolved soon." Although reaching patients at highest risk should continue to be a priority, CDC director Julie Gerberding said in a statement that "we also recognize that many health care providers have enough vaccine to expand their efforts, and overall, more vaccine is becoming available weekly."

The flu so far has surfaced mildly in eight states. Infections are expected to peak in January and February, so the CDC is advising people to get vaccinated from now through December.

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