Providers urged to work together in flu vaccine shortage

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Late last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraged hospitals, nursing homes and other providers to work together and with their local health department in an effort to redistribute excess flu vaccine to high-risk groups in need of additional vaccines.

Although the CDC has yet to developed guidelines to help providers with a shortage of vaccine prioritize among at-risk groups, which include children between 6 and 23 months, seniors 65 and older, pregnant women, healthcare workers with direct patient contact, and people with chronic health conditions. In fact, the CDC advised providers without sufficient vaccines to cover high-risk groups to contact their vaccine distributor directly to ascertain the status of their supply and to essentially ask for allocation of any remaining vaccines as they become available. The CDC told providers to "stay tuned" for recommendations on how to further handle the shortage and said further details regarding distribution of remaining doses would be available by checking its Web site: www.cdc.gov/flu.