Healthcare News & Insights

CDC to change flu vaccine recommendations

Anticipated changes to the recommendations for who should get a flu vaccine will have many practices and hospitals juggling an increase in patient requests and questions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to change the guidelines based on a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

If so, for the 2010-11 flu season, the CDC will expand its vaccination advisory to include all healthy adults between the ages of 19 and 49 to get the vaccine, even if they don’t regularly come in contact with infants or the elderly.

That extends the recommendation to most of the population.

The ACIP said the change is meant to simplify the current recommendations, which leave many people confused as to whether or not they fit into a high-risk group. ACIP also wants the expanded recommendation to reassure people that the vaccine is safe and effective.

While a new guideline should simplify things in the long run, clinicians can expect a lot of questions in the near future as patients try to understand the new recommendations — and weigh potentially contradictory advice from other, non-medical sources.

For 2010-11, the seasonal flu vaccine will include H1N1 strains, as well as the common “Perth” H3N2 type A and “Brisbane” type B strains.

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