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Pregnant Women, Children Among H1N1 Vaccine Priorities

CDC panel also says health care workers should be among first-line recipients

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women, health care workers, and children who are aged 6 months and older should be the first to receive this fall's H1N1 swine flu vaccine, according to recommendations made July 29 by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met today to set priorities for the swine flu vaccine. In addition to the above groups, it recommended that parents and caregivers of infants, non-elderly adults who have risky medical problems, and adults aged 19 to 24 years be first-line recipients. Even if there is a vaccine shortage, the panel recommended that all of its priority groups be targeted.

In addition, the panel recommended that, if ample vaccine is available, all non-elderly adults -- not just those with risky medical problems -- should be vaccinated. Clinical trials of candidate H1N1 vaccines should begin soon, and the CDC estimates 120 million doses will be available this fall.

"The committee recommended five target groups for the initial focus for immunization," Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at a press conference. "These are groups that had higher risk of disease, who had greater burden of complications."

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