RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

FLU SHOTS UPDATE September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on September 14th, 2008

The nation is set to receive between 143 million and 146 million doses of flu vaccine this fall, a record amount that comes as the government is urging more children than ever to be inoculated. Each year, influenza causes 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The elderly, young children and people with chronic illnesses are at greatest risk for severe illness, but the CDC recommends that a wide variety of people get vaccinated:

 

• All children between ages 6 months and 18 years, unless they have a serious egg allergy. Until now, flu vaccine was recommended for children under 5 or those with chronic illnesses such as asthma. The expanded recommendation takes into account that healthy school-age children have higher rates of flu than other age groups.

• Adults 50 and older.

• People of any age with certain lung, heart or other chronic disorders, or a weakened immune system.

• Women of any age who will be pregnant during flu season.

• Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.

• Health care workers.

• Parents or other caregivers of people with high-risk conditions.

Choices include standard flu shots for all ages, and the nasal vaccine FluMist, which can be used in health people ages 2 to 49. The CDC says there should be plenty of flu vaccine available despite the extra influx of children. While 140 million doses were manufactured last year, fewer than 113 million were actually distributed. Many pediatricians already had ordered vaccine by the time CDC added school-age children to the list. While acknowledging that they may not be ready to fully vaccinate this group until next year, CDC is urging them to try and encouraging more programs that provide flu vaccine in schools, with parents’ permission. Hawaii has announced a “Stop Flu at School” program to offer free flu vaccination at elementary and middle schools statewide. [Source: Washington Post AP article 8 Sep 08 ++]

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