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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Pregnant Women & Children First for H1N1 Vaccine, CDC Advisors Say

Published September 14, 2009 3:41 PM by test test

CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has released recommendations for use of vaccine against novel influenza A (H1N1) or swine flu.  

ACIP met to develop recommendations on who should receive vaccine against H1N1 when it becomes available, and to determine which groups of the population should be prioritized if the vaccine is initially available in extremely limited quantities.

The key populations include those who are at higher risk of disease or complications, those who are likely to come in contact with H1N1, and those who could infect young infants. The committee recommended the vaccination efforts focus on five key populations. 

  • pregnant women;
  • people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age;
  • healthcare and emergency services personnel;
  • persons between the ages of 6 months to 24 years of age; and
  • people aged 25-64 years, with chronic disorders or compromised immune systems.

The groups listed above total approximately 159 million people in the U.S.

ACIP does not anticipate a shortage of novel H1N1 vaccine, but availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility the vaccine initially will be available in limited quantities. 

In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others:

  • pregnant women;
  • people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age;
  • healthcare and emergency services personnel with direct patient contact;
  • children 6 months through 4 years; and
  • children 5-18 with chronic medical conditions.

ACIP further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these prioritized groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. 

Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore, as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over 65.

The committee also stressed people over 65 receive the seasonal vaccine as soon as it is available. Even if H1N1 vaccine is initially only available in limited quantities, supply and availability will continue, so the committee stressed that programs and providers continue to vaccinate patients who have not been immunized and not keep vaccine in reserve for later administration of the second dose.

The novel H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine. It is intended to be used alongside seasonal flu vaccine to protect people. Seasonal flu and novel H1N1 vaccines may be administered on the same day, according to the CDC.

-from ADVANCE for Nurses

For continuing coverage of H1N1, visit our swine flu resource center.


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