CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Expands Priority

Adults aged 50 to 64 and close contacts of persons in high-risk groups will be eligible for influenza vaccination in areas where vaccine supply is sufficient to meet demand


Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) expanded the list of priority groups recommended to receive inactivated influenza vaccine this flu season, depending on the availability of influenza vaccine in state or local health jurisdictions.


Effective Jan. 3, 2005 in locations where state and local health

authorities judge vaccine supply to be adequate to meet demand, the priority groups for inactivated influenza vaccine will include adults age 50 to 64 and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of persons in high-risk groups.  People in the high-risk groups for serious complications from influenza include persons aged 65 years or older, children aged less than 2 years, pregnant women, and people of any age who have certain underlying health conditions such as heart or lung disease, transplant recipients, or persons with AIDS


"In most communities we're still targeting vaccine to the people in the

highest priority groups," said Dr. Julie Gerberding director of the CDC.

"The challenge is that in some places, health departments and private

providers currently do not have enough demand from people in those

priority groups. We don't want those doses to go to waste, so some

states are expanding to make good use of those doses. The ACIP's

recommendation is consistent with this approach."


In response to this season's vaccine shortage, the ACIP previously

recommended inactivated influenza vaccine for all children aged 6 to 23

months, adults aged 65 years and older, persons aged 2 to 64 years 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 aged six months to 18 years on chronic aspirin

therapy, health-care workers involved in direct patient care, and

out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged <6



The ACIP suggested that health departments and healthcare providers

implement the expanded recommendations on Jan. 3, 2005, to provide

more time for unvaccinated persons in current priority groups to seek

vaccination.  In addition, for those who need it, this date will also

enable health officials to plan for expanded efforts to reach the new

priority groups.  



"Mid-season estimates of vaccination rates are below rates from last

season for adults in priority groups.  We urge persons in priority

groups to continue to seek vaccination" said Gerberding.  "If you're

65 or older or you have any kind of chronic condition or you're a healthcare worker who takes care of patients directly or if you're pregnant, you really should get a flu shot this year and we're working hard to make sure it's available in your community."


The Committee also passed a resolution for the Vaccines for Children

(VFC) program that expands the groups of eligible children to receive

VFC influenza vaccine to include VFC-eligible children who are household

contacts of persons in high-risk groups.  This expansion of VFC is

effective today.


Influenza activity has been low so far this season.  However, it is

still early and the timing and level of influenza activity is

unpredictable.  The level of reported influenza activity can change at

any time.



For more information about influenza and influenza vaccination, visit


Source: CDC