The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new orders that should keep long-term care facility residents among the first to receive flu vaccinations this year.
Facility residents, who are among the riskiest groups for severe complications from influenza, should be in the highest priority group, the CDC recently told doctors and various health officials.
Other top-priority groups are: people age 65 and older who have underlying health conditions that put them at risk for flu complications, such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes and asthma; individuals ages 2 to 64 with such underlying conditions; pregnant women; children ages 6 months to 23 months; and healthcare personnel who give direct resident or patient care.
After Oct. 24, the shots are open to anyone else who wants them.
Officials with the CDC issued the recommendation as a precaution in case of a flu shortage, which was feared last year.
That was when contamination concerns at Chiron’s production facility in Liverpool, England, caused a nationwide shortage. Other companies rallied, however, and in most cases, those who wanted vaccines were served. Vaccine surpluses were reported at the end of last season in several states.
At least 75 million doses will be needed to meet the nation’s flu vaccine demand this year, officials said. Sanofi Pasteur Inc. is estimated to deliver 60 million doses; Chiron Corp. will provide 18 to 26 million; and GlaxoSmithKline will offer 8 million doses.
FluMist by MedImmune Vaccines Inc. is expected to provide 3 million doses.