CDC Promises Sufficient Supply Of Flu Vaccine

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Flu Vaccine

Federal health officials on Wednesday announced a record 132 milliondoses of influenza vaccine will be available this flu season, but CDC data show that only a fraction of at-risk populations were vaccinated during the 2005-2006 flu season, the AP/Miami Herald reports (Neergaard, AP/Miami Herald, 9/20). At a National Foundation for Infectious Diseasesmedia conference on Wednesday, CDC Director Julie Gerberding said, "Weneed to rethink the influenza immunization season and encouragevaccination throughout the fall and winter for anyone wishing to beprotected," adding, "More doses are expected this year than in previousseasons and there is ample time to be immunized."

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According toCDC, during the 2005-2006 flu season, 20% of children between the agesof six months and 23 months were fully vaccinated against the flu, andabout 10% of children who needed two doses of the vaccine received bothdoses. In addition, no state had more than 40% of children fullyvaccinated, and all states reported lower immunization rates than thetargeted national average of 60% of adults between ages 18 and 64 whoexhibited high-risk conditions during the same season. Forty percent ofmedical care personnel -- another targeted population -- had receivedthe vaccination in 2005-2006, increasing the possibility of infectionamong health care givers and other patients (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 9/19).

Health officials called such data "unconscionable." Ardis Hoven, an American Medical Associationinfectious disease specialist, said, "It is critical that we use all ofthese doses to protect as many people as possible" (Levine, Washington Post, 9/20).

Healthexperts believe the 2004 vaccine shortage and calmer flu seasons sincethen have contributed to people becoming less concerned about theimmunization. Jim Farrell, immunization division director at the Virginia Department of Health,said, "I think there are a lot of people who have gotten by one or twoflu seasons without getting a shot or couldn't get a shot," adding,"There may be some complacency out there" (Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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